30 May 2009
The hidden allure of recycled wood
As far as I can recall, the first job I was interested in as a kid wasn’t scientist or biologist or cetologist, but carpenter. I have always been attracted by wood, by its smell and texture and feel, as much as by creative manual work.
Still today, I like wooden objects a lot, especially stranded relics broght by the sea or found in old collapsed country houses. My favourites are fragments of wooden boats with traces of paint. Layers and layers of colour scratched away by the rocks or faded by the sun.
In my free time I like to collect that sort of stuff. This behaviour generates abhorrence among my colleagues when I do that while working in the field with them. Not everybody likes recovering old stuff and when I return to the field station from a rescue trip with a carload of ‘garbage’ - possibly old wooden windows or broken chairs - I must fight (in vain) to convince my peers that it is actually artistic stuff. It often surprises me that they don’t seem to appreciate the beauty of rotten wooden logs with rusty nails and the occasional insect hiding in there.
With some of the wood and other discarded materials collected in Greece over the past months I made a series of objects which I called FISHO. Perhaps an attempt of merging my ancient (wood) and present (marine life) passions.
It is nice to alternate computer work with a bit of sawing, scraping and hammering. After a little fisho diversion, admittedly a naive and unsophisticated activity for a grown-up, I can return to my work with a fresh mind.