Greg Klassen

Cry me a river

This week on .W, our attention is turned to North America, where carpenter Greg Klassen reminds us that all things merge into one. From his studio in lush Lynden, he challenges the neighbouring clogs and windmills, creating handmade works of art that masquerade as furniture. Taking inspiration from the natural world, his philosophy is sentimental by nature and sustainable by nurture. Klassen got started after he traded in his textbooks for a hand plane to begin his career as less of a carpenter, and more of an artist. He has won design awards, national praise and most pressingly, our hearts.

We sigh at the silky smooth lines of the Mendocino collection, stop at the seamless fusion of grain and steel in the Live Edge collection, but it’s the River collection that has us crying one. Klassen has used trees grown on the banks of the Nooksack river that flows below his studio. We hover over this conversation of organic materials, our eyes shimmering in the reflection of a blue ‘river’ that breaks up the timber. It’s either made of glass, or the solidified tears of those who’ve gazed before us. These are truly stunning pieces. We’re reminded that they’re actually functional too. Not paintings, not photographs, but tables that can be eaten off and lazily stabbed at with our elbows. How dare we. Just like the heifers on Klassen’s property, we shouldn’t be grazing anywhere near these works of art – but our hearts are telling us it’s the right thing to do.