Duncan, BC – When a cherished 100-year old maple tree falls in Cobble Hill, does anyone care? The design team at Live Edge sure does. A year-long collaboration between Cowichan-based Live Edge Design, the Robert Bateman Centre and over 40 wood artisans has turned a giant Bigleaf Western maple into furniture and sculptural pieces that will live on for at least another century.

“The oneTree project came about last year when I heard that a much loved old tree on a Cowichan dairy farm had reached the end of its life and needed to come down,” explains Live Edge Design founder Jon Lore. “This tree has seen so much in its lifetime. I started thinking about all the stories it could tell us if we listened closely, and how much new beauty and value could be created from a single tree.”

Soon after, Live Edge Design and the Robert Bateman Centre partnered to create the groundbreaking oneTree Exhibit and put out a call to wood artisans to join the project. A year later, 44 artisans are just getting ready to publicly display their creations, which include musical instruments, tables and chairs and chandeliers.

 “The oneTree project explores the fascinating interrelationship between art and nature”, explains Aimee Ippersiel from the Robert Bateman Centre. “Intimacy with the life of this oneTree will enhance our relationship with nature as a whole.”

An equally fascinating component of this project is that wood artisans had to document their creative process, beginning with their first ‘date’ with their piece of the maple tree.

“It has been an honour to lay my hands and tools on wood from the oneTree and explore its hidden magic,” says Arnim Rodeck of Shama Wood, one of the artisans chosen to work on this project. “It has been a considerable challenge to add to the interesting and beautiful story the tree already brings.”

John Lore’s own creation from the oneTree – a gorgeous dining table and chairs suite - can be seen starting next week in Whistler at the BC Wood Global Buyers event (September 11-12, 2015), then in Vancouver for the Dinner x Design (September 20-21, 2015) and IDS West (September 24-27, 2015) events, before returning to Vancouver Island and the Robert Bateman Centre exhibit.

“For our oneTree tabletop, we paired two mighty wood slabs to create a yin/yang shape that is warm and welcoming,” explains Lore. “The matching chairs are made from narrow strips of wood from the mostly rotten lower portion of the tree. The salvage process was painstaking, but it is some of the most beautiful wood I have ever seen."

"The oneTree exhibit is an expression of Live edge Design's 'whole tree ethos'” adds Lore. “We view ourselves as the stewards of these massive and ancient salvaged trees, making the fullest possible use of their wood before passing them on to the next steward, our customer.”

The full set of 44 creations from the oneTree project are being exhibited for two months at the Robert Bateman Centre starting later this fall (November 14, 2015 to January 15, 2016). The exhibit will include pictures and videos that document the tree’s journey from the day it was felled to today.

oneTree Exhibition
Tree story