Tree Trunk Tables by Nickadoo
Viewed from a wide, almost philosophical, perspective, a forest is like any other living organism on this earth. Any odd day some cell – in this case a tree – will die, to be replaced by a new cell, in the forest’s case a sapling. For the fallen trees that strew the forests in their Brome Lake area, Nicole Bélanger of Nickadoo has found a way to give them a new and altogether totally different purpose. She salvages the logs or trees either taken down by the forces of nature or knocked down from lumber activity and then strives to give them a new life, a rebirth, an avatar. Each tree is then cut either in slabs that will become tables or consoles, or stump size logs that will eventually be transformed into coffee tables. Ms Bélanger then cleans each piece without using any chemical and has them kiln-dried for four or more weeks to remove of all bacteria, bugs, mold and mushrooms. In this way, every piece is guaranteed to be safe for indoors. After multiple and lengthy sandings and hand-polishing, the sides are coated with a non-toxic water base sealant and the tops shined with a locally produced bee’s wax. Working on each piece as if it was an individual canvas, Nicole Bélanger reveals the inner life of the log, its soul, by letting the grain of the wood, the age rings, and the different layers of bark express themselves. She then explores any life stories and anecdotes such as gashes from the woodcutters, bear claws, beaver teeth and or deer antler marks and make them part of the total picture. The final process, by adding legs, transforms them into functional pieces of art, but with a twist. In a way, they seem to come alive once again and almost look as if they were on the move. Each tree thus goes through a form of evolution that transforms the individual pieces made out of it from their original state into an object that is both aesthetic and useful while keeping their natural virtues. That last aspect is probably the most important in Nicole Bélanger’s mind: «From the selection of the logs to minute details of the design process, each decision is important to me. The hands-on work is a joyful process. But I believe it all stems from the respect for the forest and the trees that are its memory».