Amongst the rarest pieces of furniture in the world with a place in Scottish history. They were carved from a 600-year old yew tree from the southern banks of Loch Lomond with associations with King Robert the Bruce. Hand-torching preserved the yew while hand-finishing in Sumi Ink illuminates the lustrous patina and silky texture.
The benches explore the sculptural qualities of Scottish wood with hand worked surfaces, and the interface with water, encapsulated in Japanese words such as Kawaakari and Yugen.
Kawaakari, “The gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk; the glow of a river in darkness.” and Yugen “The yuugen indicates an incomprehensible depth and the hidden beauty, the charm of things in the dim light that you can not fully understand."
The beautiful, ancient tree stood in a young avenue of yews at the time that King Robert The Bruce crossed Loch Lomond during the warring years fighting for Scottish Independence. As Bruce waited for more followers to arrive, he sheltered by a neighbouring yew and regaled his men with stories of the yew for its hardy qualities and perseverance. It is no surprise that his warriors adopted the yew tree as a symbol. His bowmen even commissioned arrows made from yew taken from Loch Lomond… some may even have come from this tree. Sadly, in recent years root infection developed and the tree was felled. The remaining ground was excavated to 1.2m to protect the root systems of surrounding yews. The felling, whilst an end to its story at Loch Lomond, ethically released precious yew timber. Hownam Studio secured it and intuited that it would best make this unique pair of benches.
The Hownam Studio icon is embedded at the end grain of each bench.
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The simplicity belies the beautiful jointwork and allows the fascinating character of the yew to come to the fore. We worked the timber to enhance its natural characteristics. The blackened surface was created by hand-torching and inking to impart depth of colour; the tree’s patina shines through like seams of silver. Blackening accelerates the natural darkening over time caused by the oxidisation of the tanins in yew timber.
The benches feel exquisite to touch, the result of the age and density of the wood. In function and in aesthetics, the benches will contribute to your living space, gallery or hall. They add interest in texture and with a visually stimulating finish.