Greg Klassen is a masterful studio furniture maker in the Pacific Northwest who finds inspiration in its landscape and translates that into his work. His ‘River Collection’ is a series of intricately designed and handcrafted tables that feature embedded, blueish-green glass ‘rivers’ running throughout each piece. According to Klassen, the naturally uneven edges of the wood and their vivid grains provide the perfect ‘shore’ to mimic bodies of water.
Each of Klassen’s tables showcase the gorgeous details within the wood; we see knots, swirling grains, and other imperfections that make his work truly one-of-a-kind. It’s complemented by the specially-cut glass that connects two otherwise separate pieces of wood or fills in its natural holes. Klassen uses trees that were sustainably harvested from the banks of the Noonsack river, so with every new table he builds, discarded trees have a new life through functional art.
Klassen actively seeks out the irregular edge sections of trees and deformed slabs of wood to create his unique river tables. These raw, ‘hard to work with’, and typically undesirable cuts might have splits, scars and holes (which he is keen to fill in with ‘lakes’). The varieties of timber used are mainly walnut and elm, as well as several other species of hardwood that grow locally to him in the Pacific Northwest.
Whilst it might seem like an impossible feat to cut glass to fit perfectly between the two overtly irregular forms of these parallel slabs of wood, and although it is certainly no easy task, it is made possible by insetting the pane over a slightly larger area than the presented gap. The glass is first cut to roughly match (and overlap) the natural shape of the opposing jagged timber sections. A guideline is then drawn around this fluid shape before a ‘flood plane’ is carved into the wood to allow the meandering glass pane to sit flush.
Klassen has so far produced more than 15 tables for his River Collection, which he has sold for between approximately USD 4,000 and USD 9,000. However he has recently sourced a number of irregularly shaped exterior edge timber pieces and plans to create a lot more of his unique river tables after the amount of attention the initial run garnered.