Art exhibit focuses on reclaimed wood

Published on Aug 21, 2013 3:30 p.m. by Janet Hawkins,

WCC’s GalleryOne and the Urbanwood Project of Ann Arbor are collaborating on an art exhibition to showcase the beauty and utilitarian quality of recycled wood. The exhibition, “Built, Carved, Turned: Ten Approaches to Urbanwood,” features the work of 10 local artists and artisans. It will be on display in GalleryOne, which is on the first floor of the Student Center building, from Aug. 28 to Oct. 18.

This is the first time WCC has cosponsored a gallery show with a community organization, according to Anne Rubin, director of GalleryOne. The Urbanwood Marketplace at the Recycle Ann Arbor ReUse Center is the first retail operation of its kind in the country to bring local producers of lumber, slabs, and other reclaimed urban wood products together under one roof. Urbanwood producers specialize in salvaging logs from local landscape tree removal operations.

Sculptures, mixed media, carvings, screen printing on wood, furniture, and utilitarian objects designed and sculpted by WCC students, professional artists, and woodworkers will be featured. Artists and artisans are:

  • Benjamin Bigelow, print
  • Russ Clinard, turned vessel
  • Crystal DeVee, sculpture
  • Phillip Dewey, mixed media/cabinetry
  • Jonathan McMurray, sculpture
  • Ben Olton, turned vessel
  • Erica Perry, turned vessel
  • Bryce Richards, furniture
  • Amy Yamasaki, sculpture
  • Alan Young, furniture

“It is hard for some people to make the leap from raw materials like recycled wood to such unique and inspiring products like those showcased in this exhibition,” said Jessica Simons, coordinator of the Urbanwood Project. “Our hope is that this collaborative project, and the awareness activities planned during its run, will spur imaginations and inspire people to create new markets for this precious natural resource.”

According to Simons, a study was conducted in 2005 to characterize the volume, quality, and estimated value of southeastern Michigan's urban trees and other types of urban wood waste. Researchers found that when looking at the logs potentially available from dead urban trees, the 13 counties of southeastern Michigan could produce 73.5 million board feet of lumber annually—equivalent to the amount of wood used to build 5,600 average-sized homes.

“Collaborations like this one with the Urbanwood Project are a perfect example of how Washtenaw Community College has become a key player in community development,” said Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, WCC president. “We will continue to seek new ways to collaborate on projects that improve the quality of life for our community beyond the classroom.”

Exhibition partners also include Dan Erickson Sawmill and Woodworking Services, Lumberjacks Tree Service, Raven Farm, Scotty’s Custom Sawing and Millwork, Tervol’s Wood Products, and Ullmann Urban Sawmill.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. Call 734-477-8512 for more information.