23 March, 2016

The Giving Tree

A gift rooted in sustainability.

The Giving Tree

I was visiting friends in Sweden a few months back, and they had this small garage which they turned into a wood working space. I loved it! I hadn't made things out of wood before, so I had a go at making lathe spun toys, boxes, kitchen utensils...and coasters. The latter were made as gifts for my friends – something useful, simple, made out of beautiful local wood, and made with a certain care and passion.

When Hangar approached me to make wooden coasters as Christmas gifts for their clients and friends, we wanted the same concept to translate into these gifts. I personally believe that the process by which an item comes into existence is just as important as the end result. That meant using local material, upcycling, supporting small shops and local businesses and making each item as though it were a gift for a dear friend.

The process turned out being just that, despite the many hiccups and concerns – the main one being where to get the wood from, since Malta doesn’t really boast lush forested areas. I managed to source local wood from garden contractors, who provided me with freshly cut branches from trees that needed pruning or had fallen due to winds. I worked with my uncle, a carpenter by trade, to cut the wood at his workshop. Hangar’s logo was laser-etched onto each coaster at a small second-generation shop in Valletta, which has been operating since the late 50’s. To make the coating I visited a beekeeper in Siggiewi, from whom I got beeswax for a simple wax and oil blend: a natural water-resistant polish. The coasters were finally hand wrapped in upcycled paper and ready to be gifted.

The process was great. What I am also very happy with is that these are items that can be appreciated and used, and as their lifetime comes to an end, unlike most material goods we use, they will fully decompose and returned to nature.