WITH A SPECIAL SENSE
With a special sense of what others throw away or try to avoid, designer Tina Astrup explores visual stories in wood. The works at the exhibition could well resemble furniture, but Tina Astrup’s own interest lies somewhere else. She works intensively to create and highlight characters and patterns. In the machining, tactile materialities arise in an interaction that calls for touch.
The raw material, the processed fineness
A number of large, triangular wooden blocks stand in a group on the floor of her workshop in Højbjerg outside Aarhus and are waiting for an exhibition. They are raw, some have an open, porous structure with cracks after rapid drying. Tina Astrup has carefully treated them and emphasized the tactile qualities: one side sanded smoothly and almost glossy, another still rough and black brown in time in the forest. The dimensions are like a sitting furniture – but they are just as much sculptures free standing in the room.
Wood is a living and natural material. In the trunk, the part closest to the center is called heartwood, while the outer part is called the sapwood. Always in the center there is the marrow around which are arranged the rings that indicate the growth of the tree. Each ring corresponds to a year of growth and from the number of these we can easily calculate the age of the tree.
The trees, cut with special machinery, are taken to sawmills where the trunk is cut according to some well-defined patterns. After that, the wood is seasoned in which its moisture content is reduced to acceptable levels in order to work it. Normally natural drying is the most followed and consists in placing the wooden planks, appropriately spaced and protected by a covering, outdoors. After a set period the boards are ready to be worked, but often the level of humidity reached is still a bit high for the timber destined for the interior and must be treated artificially.
The multilayers are generally made with sheets of poplar or birch arranged orthogonally to each other so as to cancel the forces along the direction of the grain. They are ideal for some structures and can be of different sizes and thicknesses. The cut and the drilling do not present obstacles, but the surfaces can be slightly frayed after the operation: you must therefore always intervene with sandpaper. The use of screws does not present problems on the flat face of the sheet, while on the thickness, ie where you see the various glued veneers, it is not desirable because a good seal is not guaranteed.