March 10, 2015 -- BIT Magazine Last week we were lucky enough to be able to visit Saiyart Collection. For those that don't know, this is the woodworking studio of legendary Thai woodworker and artist Saiyart Semangern. His son and a dedicated team of artists carry on his work just northeast of Bangkok, Thailand.
It's a truly inspiring place for any maker. You can see projects in all their various stages of completion. We watched people working on them and admired pieces scattered everywhere completed throughout the years.
The main idea behind this studio is extending the life of the wood used in their work.
Wood is a special building material because it was once alive. When the tree has lived out its life in the forest, it is cut down and used elsewhere. As a home, or a boat, or a piece of equipment in a rice field, it lives a new life beside humans. When that life draws to a close, it generally is burned. While the ash might be useful at times to enrich soil for agriculture, it more often than not is wasted.
That is where Saiyart Collection comes in, taking that unwanted wood and extending its life once more, this time as a high-value work of art with a practical side. As furniture, it continues living side by side with humans, enriching their lives both in their function as a seat, table, or bed, and also as a thought-provoking work of art.
We heard that classes might be on offer at their workshop, and that is great news. Woodworking is an important but perishable skill. It takes one generation passing their knowledge down to the next to preserve it. Wood surrounds us, but to keep it from being another mass manufactured feature we take for granted, it takes craftsmen that can bring it to life again. In addition to their expert handling of wood in and of itself, Saiyart Collection's unique use of scrap wood makes this unique studio and their philosophy all the more appealing.
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