Working with reclaimed wood brings me a continual source of gratification. All of the salvaged wood that I collect comes from refuse tips, building sites, forest or the beach, these woods may all have been destined for landfill or the bon fire but by reclaiming, and re-working the wood I can restore these pieces to reveal their natural charm and breath life back into them again.
Much like vintage items, reclaimed wood often has a character and history that you can’t duplicate, in my view reclaimed wood has a beauty that is incomparable. Left to age among the elements or pulled from a building these woods are transformed by a natural aging process.
Once I have collected the wood, I then begin to disassemble it and removing any bolts, nails or staples. This leaves holes and scaring that only add to its appearance, any paint or residues are only sanded off and no chemicals are used in the process at all. The pieces are then hand painted by me and where appropriate a natural clear wax is applied to enhance the colour of the wood.
Using reclaimed wood makes each piece unique, no two pieces are identical and they all have individual qualities. Rich in colour and grain, wood brings a touch of warmth and texture which can blend with any style of home contemporary or traditional.
I have always appreciated reclaimed wood for its exquisite originality, but even more, the value of its impact on the environment. With increased awareness and education this reclaim evolution is sure to have artisans, consumers and craftspeople looking for products that are safe to use and environmentally friendly.
The Majority of paints that I use are also from recycled materials. From friends sheds, refuse tips to car boot sales, I try to collect as many waste paint products as I possibly can. This means that I can re-use materials that would otherwise be thrown away or merely just forgotten. From here I can start to reuse the paint colours in there found natural form, or I can begin to mix my own colours.
By using salvaged paint, this gives me a starting point and inspiration to create new colours and shades that I may not have considered before. Obviously I am not always successful with the colour that I wanted to achieve but on the flip side I have also created some really beautiful accidents as well.
Creating my own colour palette is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s not just the mixing and testing of new colours, but also playing with the possibilities of new ideas that create a new direction for my work.
Once I have discovered a range of new colours that I am happy to work with I can then begin to add a variety of textures to the paint, these added ingredients change the structure of the paint and alter the surface when it is applied to the wood. This in turn also gives interest and detail to areas that I might then want to sand back or distress.
Using recycled paints also contributes to the individuality of my pieces as I only ever have a limited quantity of each paint. Once the colour is mixed and jarred, that is all I have. So when it is gone I can never recreate the exact same colour again and it will be time to create a new colour.
I would encourage anyone to have a go at mixing their own colours from recycled paints, it opens up a wealth of creativity and knowledge for opportunities and ideas to get you started. It’s fun and it’s free.
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