Author: Scott

BLOG #8 – Lines of Desire

We know lines of desire as ‘desire paths‘ “desire lines” “social paths”. Desire lines are created by people, and animals, as they cross the landscape to establish a new route.

Consequently, these new routes, both official and unofficial, become reinforced over time. They become more evident as people instinctively understand the benefit of the new route, line or pathway. Therefore, the more people that the follow the new route the clearer it becomes.
Over millennia ancient peoples created different routes across the landscape. This dates from the Neolithic, through the Bronze age, Roman, Anglo Saxon and Viking times, through to modern times. Importantly, these chosen routes or lines often reflected how each societal group used and surveyed the landscape and its features.

The form, line, and rationale of a desire line develops for many reasons. This can be due to efficiency of route, taking the most direct line from A to B, or due to local superstitions, and a desire line can reflect the wider context of the cultural relationship of the people to the natural world.

Lines of desire aren’t just observed in the landscape, you can also see them on floors, stone steps of old buildings, they can be found on ancient wooden furniture and on doors where people grasp or rub in passing.

Take a look at our Cup & Ring Bench Pair, a unique mirrored pair of benches made with very rare burr timber timber from an ancient Scottish Elm tree, sculpted with the Pictish cup and ring symbol

Blog #7 – Sculpture

The beauty and balance of the objects that we make originates from the skill of our artisans. Their talents have been refined over decades, creating exquisite pieces and the most delicate and balanced forms. Techniques employed include gilding with precious metals to enliven the surface and animate a live edge or carving by hand.

Sculptural carving to surfaces is used to reach a specific and desired aesthetic result, often this may take place over weeks and involve two or three artisans. The intimate hand and eye process aims to deliver our precise intent for the work and yet in some pieces it may evolve in unexpected ways, this is due to the very nature of the materials.

Evolution of the work will continue throughout its life influenced by interaction from both human touch and the elements themselves.

Blog #6 – Provenance

Hownam Studio has provenance on our wood, where it originated from and when it was selected. This process is vital as it establishes the trees history, origin and character. The trees in the round come from Scottish estates, woodlands or other ethical and sustainable sources. Trees will be rejected if the limited and rare national stock hasn’t been honoured by good woodland management. Trees are often wind-blown, felled to due old age or affected by other external issues, the resultant character of these wood sources can be the most interesting, with unique quality and patina. The people we work with in this area can be described as some of the best.

An example of our process is exemplified by “The Lomond Yew”, the wood was sourced ethically from an ancient and historic Scottish Yew from the shores of Loch Lomond where it has grown for over half a millennia. It is unlikely that any other trees will be available ever. This single rare tree was harvested as a conservation measure. To say it is special is an understatement, it is a tree with mysticism gathered over hundreds of years with a important place in Scotland, history soaked into its character, silk to the touch due to its age and amazing density.

Blog #5 – Ethical Materials

Our process of selection and procurement is painstaking, on historic pieces of wood it may take many years to locate and to prepare. Our goal is to understand the complex qualities of that exact piece; its perfect imperfections, character, facets, origin, journey, every element before we decide how this can best fit with our artistic expression.

As we work with the wood we honour the selected piece; its past and future in the same moment by transforming the wood into sculptural work.

The wood comes from ethically selected sources, taking many years to harvest and cure. We take care to honour the tree and by creating beautiful pieces it continues its journey. Our stock of Scottish timber has been built up over years from some of the finest historical timber available.

Blog #4 – Kawaakari

Kawaakari – pronunciation ka-wa-a-ka-rE

Kanji – 川明かり Hiragana – かわあかり

(n.) the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk; the glow of a river in the darkness.

Deceptively simple, composed using two kanji referring to river and brightness, although the word is described as untranslatable the imagery associated must be some of the most evocative. To witness liquid gold from sunlight’s last on a rivers surface or silver and shades of platinum from the moon rays move like mercury in braided seams is a powerful and entrancing experience.

Blog #3 – Mathematically Magic Numbers – 2:1 8:5 3:2 4:3, 5:4

Ancient patterns are referenced in several of our pieces such as the Towie Sphere bench and Stools as well as and the Cup & Ring bench carvings. The Studio’s work in this area continues a fascination with these shapes and marks which have endured for millennia.

The form and line draw on our ancient preoccupations that are ultimately expressions of mathematical ratios that enable us to access harmony in music, art, pattern and architecture.

The harmony of these ratios is also present in nature from the growth of plants and trees, to mountains and the curves and shapes of rivers. The natural world has infinitely more complexity and depth than the forms we select. As our eyes and brain search for patterns in the world around us, a deep satisfaction can be accessed in the relationship in the natural lines within the wood, and the human hand worked surfaces of the sculpture.

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