Fallen, famed tree becomes work of art in Maple Leaf Forever exhibit

News Jan 22, 2014 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Industrial designer Miles Keller’s latest project was a departure for him.

A creative director at the Junction Triangle’s design firm Dystil, Keller’s work will be featured as part of the Toronto Design Offsite (TODO) Festival’s Maple Leaf Forever exhibit that opens at Agora Cafe in the Junction, Monday, Jan. 20.

“This was a tough project because most of the design groups are furniture-makers, craftsmen or woodworkers. We’re in industrial design,” Keller told The Villager. “We build water filtration systems and office chairs. This was a bit out of the ordinary for us.”

Keller is one of four artists who have turned wood from a famed Maple tree – said to have inspired the song, ‘The Maple Leaf Forever,’ once Canada’s unofficial national anthem, into pieces that commemorate the cultural significance of the tree. When Keller arrived at Toronto’s wood lot at Cherry Beach to pick up salvaged wood from the tree, he stood there in disbelief.

“It was what you’d find if you cut branches off a tree and threw them out. I thought, ‘We’re supposed to do something with this?,” he recalled. “It seemed disrespectful to saw it all up and make a shelf. So, we decided we needed to keep the branches in tact.”

When a storm brought the famous Maple Leaf Forever tree down on Laing Street in the Beach last July, many rushed to save the wood from being turned into mulch. The City of Toronto is developing an initiative to craft the majority of the wood salvaged from the tree into community art and cultural pieces, according to LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) spokesperson.

“However, the smaller tree branches and leaves would have rapidly deteriorated to a point where they could not have been used,” Matthew Higginson.

An organization that champions the urban forest, LEAF encourages the salvaging and re-use of wood from urban trees.

“This wood is a valuable urban resource to celebrate the intersection of urban and natural, create unique Toronto wood products and recognize the value and importance of urban trees to our city and its residents,” Higginson said. “We partnered with the City of Toronto last fall on a Maple Leaf Forever tree tour and we continue to be engaged in urban wood utilization efforts in the city.”

The designers donated their time to make the pieces, which will be sold or auctioned to raise funds for LEAF.

Calgary native Keller said he loves both the urban and natural worlds. An avid single-track mountain bike rider, Keller rides in the Don Valley.

“When you’re in there, the city just goes away,” said Keller, who enjoys looking up through the tree branches to see the light trickling through.

It is on those rides that he was inspired to create his exhibition piece, a lamp whose base is made of compressed leaves soaked polyester resin. The branches stand upright in the polyester resin.

“It’s very dramatic,” Keller said of the seven-foot tall lamp. “In the end, it was a really fun project, very challenging – like a chess game.”

The Maple Leaf Forever exhibit opens Monday, Jan. 20 and continues until Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Agora Cafe, 3015 Dundas St. W. A reception takes place Wednesday, with a reception Wed., Jan. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Fallen, famed tree becomes work of art in Maple Leaf Forever exhibit

Continues until Jan. 26 at Agora Cafe

News Jan 22, 2014 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Industrial designer Miles Keller’s latest project was a departure for him.

A creative director at the Junction Triangle’s design firm Dystil, Keller’s work will be featured as part of the Toronto Design Offsite (TODO) Festival’s Maple Leaf Forever exhibit that opens at Agora Cafe in the Junction, Monday, Jan. 20.

“This was a tough project because most of the design groups are furniture-makers, craftsmen or woodworkers. We’re in industrial design,” Keller told The Villager. “We build water filtration systems and office chairs. This was a bit out of the ordinary for us.”

Keller is one of four artists who have turned wood from a famed Maple tree – said to have inspired the song, ‘The Maple Leaf Forever,’ once Canada’s unofficial national anthem, into pieces that commemorate the cultural significance of the tree. When Keller arrived at Toronto’s wood lot at Cherry Beach to pick up salvaged wood from the tree, he stood there in disbelief.

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“It was what you’d find if you cut branches off a tree and threw them out. I thought, ‘We’re supposed to do something with this?,” he recalled. “It seemed disrespectful to saw it all up and make a shelf. So, we decided we needed to keep the branches in tact.”

When a storm brought the famous Maple Leaf Forever tree down on Laing Street in the Beach last July, many rushed to save the wood from being turned into mulch. The City of Toronto is developing an initiative to craft the majority of the wood salvaged from the tree into community art and cultural pieces, according to LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) spokesperson.

“However, the smaller tree branches and leaves would have rapidly deteriorated to a point where they could not have been used,” Matthew Higginson.

An organization that champions the urban forest, LEAF encourages the salvaging and re-use of wood from urban trees.

“This wood is a valuable urban resource to celebrate the intersection of urban and natural, create unique Toronto wood products and recognize the value and importance of urban trees to our city and its residents,” Higginson said. “We partnered with the City of Toronto last fall on a Maple Leaf Forever tree tour and we continue to be engaged in urban wood utilization efforts in the city.”

The designers donated their time to make the pieces, which will be sold or auctioned to raise funds for LEAF.

Calgary native Keller said he loves both the urban and natural worlds. An avid single-track mountain bike rider, Keller rides in the Don Valley.

“When you’re in there, the city just goes away,” said Keller, who enjoys looking up through the tree branches to see the light trickling through.

It is on those rides that he was inspired to create his exhibition piece, a lamp whose base is made of compressed leaves soaked polyester resin. The branches stand upright in the polyester resin.

“It’s very dramatic,” Keller said of the seven-foot tall lamp. “In the end, it was a really fun project, very challenging – like a chess game.”

The Maple Leaf Forever exhibit opens Monday, Jan. 20 and continues until Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Agora Cafe, 3015 Dundas St. W. A reception takes place Wednesday, with a reception Wed., Jan. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Fallen, famed tree becomes work of art in Maple Leaf Forever exhibit

Continues until Jan. 26 at Agora Cafe

News Jan 22, 2014 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

Industrial designer Miles Keller’s latest project was a departure for him.

A creative director at the Junction Triangle’s design firm Dystil, Keller’s work will be featured as part of the Toronto Design Offsite (TODO) Festival’s Maple Leaf Forever exhibit that opens at Agora Cafe in the Junction, Monday, Jan. 20.

“This was a tough project because most of the design groups are furniture-makers, craftsmen or woodworkers. We’re in industrial design,” Keller told The Villager. “We build water filtration systems and office chairs. This was a bit out of the ordinary for us.”

Keller is one of four artists who have turned wood from a famed Maple tree – said to have inspired the song, ‘The Maple Leaf Forever,’ once Canada’s unofficial national anthem, into pieces that commemorate the cultural significance of the tree. When Keller arrived at Toronto’s wood lot at Cherry Beach to pick up salvaged wood from the tree, he stood there in disbelief.

Related Content

“It was what you’d find if you cut branches off a tree and threw them out. I thought, ‘We’re supposed to do something with this?,” he recalled. “It seemed disrespectful to saw it all up and make a shelf. So, we decided we needed to keep the branches in tact.”

When a storm brought the famous Maple Leaf Forever tree down on Laing Street in the Beach last July, many rushed to save the wood from being turned into mulch. The City of Toronto is developing an initiative to craft the majority of the wood salvaged from the tree into community art and cultural pieces, according to LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) spokesperson.

“However, the smaller tree branches and leaves would have rapidly deteriorated to a point where they could not have been used,” Matthew Higginson.

An organization that champions the urban forest, LEAF encourages the salvaging and re-use of wood from urban trees.

“This wood is a valuable urban resource to celebrate the intersection of urban and natural, create unique Toronto wood products and recognize the value and importance of urban trees to our city and its residents,” Higginson said. “We partnered with the City of Toronto last fall on a Maple Leaf Forever tree tour and we continue to be engaged in urban wood utilization efforts in the city.”

The designers donated their time to make the pieces, which will be sold or auctioned to raise funds for LEAF.

Calgary native Keller said he loves both the urban and natural worlds. An avid single-track mountain bike rider, Keller rides in the Don Valley.

“When you’re in there, the city just goes away,” said Keller, who enjoys looking up through the tree branches to see the light trickling through.

It is on those rides that he was inspired to create his exhibition piece, a lamp whose base is made of compressed leaves soaked polyester resin. The branches stand upright in the polyester resin.

“It’s very dramatic,” Keller said of the seven-foot tall lamp. “In the end, it was a really fun project, very challenging – like a chess game.”

The Maple Leaf Forever exhibit opens Monday, Jan. 20 and continues until Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Agora Cafe, 3015 Dundas St. W. A reception takes place Wednesday, with a reception Wed., Jan. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m.