Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
“Arc” was designed and built for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, in Irvine CA. This five-piece set included an Altar, Ambo, Book case, and two side tables. Used to outfit the Sister’s worship space.
From a single large Claro Walnut slab I resawed all the veneer to spread the same piece of wood throughout all five pieces of furniture. Certain sections of the slab lent themselves well for certain areas of the individual pieces.
Book matches from the section of wood (where the first branch came off the main trunk) were used to frame the redwood lace burl top of the alter. Curved pieces of wood were required to complete the elliptical shape of the alter top, and the wood section utilized was naturally curved.
Since the Sisters wanted to use Native woods from Humboldt County, California, we met the reds and browns of the Walnut and Redwood with a contrasting inclusion of Madrone to provide a subtle and harmonious feel.
Every single piece was chosen, specifically, for its role in the overall piece. We achieved this by spreading out the material from a single plank, or several sequential planks, or slabs, from the same tree. Each piece was seamlessly brought together in such a way, that even if it wasn’t a solid through-and-through piece of sculpted wood, you would think it was. Surgically sharp tools were used at glue joints, and wood was specifically chosen to blend tightly together in a visually seamless whole.
No mechanical fasteners were utilized except the fasteners holding on the table top. All components were directly joined by wood on wood joints. The technique used to complete the Altar top is known as parquetry. Parquetry utilizes veneer to join multiple geometric shapes (utilizing the natural grain of the wood). This yields either a symmetrical aesthetic with the wood grain lined up, or an asymmetrical aesthetic with the grain going in all different directions.