Archive for Vladimir Kagan

Chevron Console at the “My Grain” Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by johnwiggers

Many apartments and condominiums are notorious for having narrow entry areas at the front door. To address the design challenges of these spaces Kevin has created a narrow wall hung console called the Chevron Console that is only 6″ deep.

Earlier this year Kevin had the privilege of displaying an example of this design at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York.

This piece ended up being part of a group exhibit at The Furniture Society’s display, where it was featured alongside the works of distinguished furniture makers such as Garry Knox Bennett, Wendell Castle , Michael Fortune , Vladimir Kagan , Silas Kopf, John Makepeace, Judy McKie, Po Shun Leong and others.

Kevin’s Chevron Console was subsequently sold to a private collector.

For the upcoming “My Grain” exhibition at The Guild Shop in Toronto Kevin will be displaying another version of the Chevron Console . This piece measures 30″ long by 6″ deep by 6″ high. It has been crafted from quarter cut Wenge panels that have been compound mitred to create a seamless monolithic structure. It is wall hung by means of a French cleat that is recessed into the back face. It is also signed and numbered on the back face: 2010-#022.

The “My Grain” exhibition opens at The Guild Shop in Toronto on Saturday July 16th.

Testimonials and Referrals

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by johnwiggers

Currently we are in the process of reviewing the design of our website.

One area I have been looking to expand is the Testimonials and Referrals page. On that note I have been pleasantly surprised at the positive and enthusiastic response we’ve received from the many customers who have contributed their comments for publication.

Some examples are as follows:

“John’s work is truly extraordinary! Working through Vivavi we explained the concept of our home, the lighting we had chosen for our bedroom and how much we loved one of the beds that he had designed. He melded these ideas and created a highly contemporary art deco inspired bedroom suite with a very exotic veneer he selected for our project. We were blown away by his final design and the actual pieces were beyond measure in their perfection. There are no words to describe it’s beauty or the positive change it brings to our daily life. It inspires us and helps us to come together as a couple. We are blessed by John’s work.”

Ara Lucia A. and Michael A.
Greater Chicago area, Illinois


“There are maybe a handful of people in the world who can create at the level John does.”

J. Wade Beam
VP Sales and Marketing
Brueton Industries, Inc.
New York, New York



“Thank you so much for the wonderful desk you made for me. It surpassed my expectations in both beauty and quality. Your customization of the design fits my needs perfectly and it receives daily notice for its seamless lines and gentle but bold curves.”

Dr. Sean Boutros, MD, FACS
Houston, Texas


“John is one of the most professional furniture makers I’ve worked with. His design prowess and craftsmanship speak for themselves. What further distinguishes him is his customer-centric focus, ensuring that every customer is not only satisfied with the final product, but also thrilled by the entire experience from its initial stages to final delivery.”

Josh Dorfman
Asheville, North Carolina


“Several years ago we were introduced to John Wiggers through a designer in Chicago and were very happy with several pieces he made to order for us. When we hired a design firm to do our home in Florida we insisted that the designer use Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. for as much of the woodwork as possible. My only mistake is that we did not insist that he do all the wood furniture in the home. The quality, craftsmanship, attention to detail was amazing. You can see and feel the difference between John’s work and the other pieces in our home. Everyone who comes to our home comments on how magnificent John’s pieces are and are amazed at not only the appearance but the substance and quality of the woodwork. Our designer could not understand how we could use some one from Canada when he had local craftsman available to do the work. Now he knows better.”

Arleen and Ken G.
Chicago, Illinois


“I have worked with Wiggers Custom Furniture for over 20 years, and am continually impressed with John’s design sensibility, customer service, and attention to detail. John is always sensitive to the goals of the project, and offers continual design improvements through his tremendous experience and creative eye. His pieces are much more than simply furniture – they communicate the joy and commitment to artistic creation that are the vanguard of his work. I am honored to work with Wiggers Custom Furniture on any project, anywhere in the world, as I know the standards will always of the highest caliber.”

Bob Halper, LC IESNA
Halper Lighting Solutions
Chagrin Falls, Ohio


“John is one of the finest furniture makers around.”

Vladimir Kagan
Vladimir Kagan Design Group, Inc.
New York, New York, USA



“Thanks again for the superlative clock case you made for my Charles Frodsham regulator movement. It exceeded my expectations. Charles Frodsham was a renowned clock, chronograph maker in the early Victorian period, and he is recognized as being one of England’s foremost clockmakers. Now the movement can be exhibited in a case of similar and suitable quality.”

William K.
Toronto, Ontario


“Wiggers Custom is an excellent source for custom furniture product. They have the best mix of technology, craftsmanship, and finish quality. John takes a personal interest in his customers and stays involved throughout the process. He brings great experience and production knowledge to each project; you can always count on the integrity of whatever his company makes.”

Mark Logan
Vice President
Dakota Jackson Inc.
New York, New York


“For over 10 years I had the pleasure of working with Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. I found their work to be of exceptional quality and craftsmanship. They always provided expertise in the construction details and manufacturing, thus providing our clients with the most creative furniture available. In my 35 years of experience in the high end American furniture market I never found any manufacturer who produced a more beautiful finished piece of contemporary furniture than Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd.”

Dale Leland Mardiros
Pacific Showrooms West
San Francisco, California


“In my experience as a designer of high end residential, it is imperative to find great artisans to partner with.

John Wiggers raises the bar in every aspect of the custom design process.

It is a pleasure to work with his team and the level of client services his company delivers time after time is tops in the industry.”

Olga Markoff
Olga Markoff Design
Chicago, Illinois


“This is a short note to thank you for producing the beautiful, oval, black walnut boxes for presentation to the recipients of the Women’s Health Research Awards, 2004 – and to thank you for making them under such a tight deadline!

The boxes were presented at a reception to honour the women and men who are leading the way in women’s health research in Ontario, and we were delighted to be able to give the beautiful work of an Ontario artist to each of them.

Several recipients have contacted us since the reception to tell us how much they admired the box. It turned out to be the perfect way to acknowledge all of the work they are doing on behalf of Ontario women.

Thank you again for your wonderful work.”

Marnie MacKinnon
Chief Operating Officer
Ontario Women’s Health Council
Toronto, Ontario


Dear John,

“It was a pleasure dealing with you for our order of 16 pieces from your beautiful selection. Whatever custom detail we could dream up, you found a way to put it in reality.

When the U.S. government formally put formaldehyde on the list of known carcinogens on June 10, 2011 (finally!), you must have smiled – and so did we. You have been so much ahead of your time. Thanks to your foresight and care, we could enjoy your pieces from day one without headaches from outgassing and knowing that we purchased truly “healthy” furniture.

Whether it is the wonderful sunburst design of our two Ellipse tables; the fact they are made from sustainable bamboo; the brilliantly manufactured Inamorata nightstands. dresser and boxer chest; the elegant Irenic beds including the clever height adjustment you came up with; the versatility of the Island Tables – it’s more than just excellent workmanship – these are pieces of art made for practical use.

And, not to forget, this furniture comes with a “soul” created by all the spiritual details you put in your work: the Amboyna inlays from the Solomon Islands or the sacred stone in the beds’ headboards, just to name a few.

Thanks again for all your assistance from the planning stages up to the day you personally delivered the beauties into our home.”

Kind regards,
H. Meissner


I am pleased to write this letter of reference for John Wiggers, who has custom built and installed numerous projects for us in Toronto and New York.

John and the staff of his company, Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd., have always been extremely accomodating to our organization. Most importantly, projects have been completed in a timely fashion and details have always been closely adhered to.

In his dealings with us, John has always maintained the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. Exclusive design arrangements with us have always been honoured.

For these reasons, I do not hesitate to recommend John and his company to anyone requiring high quality custom furniture.

Ariel Muller
Ariel Muller Designs
Richmond hill, Ontario

“I have had the privilege of working with John Wiggers, whose passion for high quality craftsmanship and sustainability are contagious. We have shared many inspirational conversations that have resulted in a trust that is unshakeable. John has beautifully crafted my challenging furniture designs with every infinite detail mastered and an environmental integrity that is unmatched by any other.”

Jill Salisbury
el: Environmental Language
Chicago, Illinois


“We just finished building a custom home and had been searching for the “perfect” desk for our new home office. We wanted something that was original in style, made to last a lifetime and not too large. It was impossible to find something ready-made that fit all of our criteria. We contacted John and within a few days he had prepared detailed drawings for us to consider. After some fine tuning, we quickly settled on our perfect desk. The desk is flawless and looks exactly as drawn, down to the last detail.”

Barry S.
Toronto, Ontario


We have worked with John Wiggers and Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. since 1990. During that time, they have produced product for our United States showrooms, as well as for our clients that was both highly unique and innovative.

John has conducted his business in a very professional manner and we have the highest respect for his fine craftsmanship and vast knowledge. Communication is excellent, so even the most minute details are meticulously done. His environmentally sensible veneer work and polyester finishes are some of the finest in the world.

Our client satisfaction has been outstanding. The product has arrived on time and in perfect condition, as all merchandise is blanket wrapped and transported by their own driver on their own truck. Therefore there is no excessive handling, no transfers and freight damages are virtually eliminated.

We are very pleased with our relationship with John and his company and look forward to our mutual continued success.

Monroe Sherman
elan for Carriage House, Inc.
Dania, Florida



“We wanted you to know how appreciative we are of all the assistance you have provided for us in the manufacturing of our furniture line. Your expertise and knowledge of construction methods, the properties of various wood species, and the techniques available for intricate and complex finishes has been an invaluable asset to our (Shaver/Melahn) furniture division.

Your work goes well beyond the often-difficult task of manufacturing. You have always been there to guide us through design alternatives, providing solutions to design problems and corrections to flaws in concept. As we were designing in the United States you were able to see flaws in prototype and send out red flags warning us of possible problems.

You also kept our price points in mind always trying to deliver product at a level commensurate with the quality and high standards our furniture line demanded. Should you ever need a reference please know that we would be honored to pass on our recommendation of your excellent work.”

Rick Shaver and Lee Melahn
Pleasant Living
Madison, Wisconsin


“I recently had been retained by one of my Los Angeles clients to do the interior of their home in Toronto. I initially thought I would have to make all the furniture in Los Angeles by my cabinetmakers and finishers and have them shipped and installed in the Toronto location. Through a very good reference, I was given the name of John Wiggers of Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. I sent him our plans for many built-ins and furniture pieces, mainly done in exotic and rare woods, and requiring either a low-VOC high-polished or polyurethane finish, which is very difficult to find a manufacturer that is able to do it.

I contracted with John to make and install all of the pieces that I required. During the process, I went to his shop and saw how beautiful he was set up and how clean and organized it was, and knew at that time I was going to receive, from John, quality of the highest level for all cabinetwork and finishing.

When the furniture and cabinets were completed, his workmanship excelled my greatest expectations and my clients were extremely pleased. I wish John would open a shop in Los Angeles, because of the quality of his work, and how pleasant he is to deal with.”

Stephen Tomar, ASID, CCIDC
Tomar Lampert Associates
Los Angeles, California


“On a recent project I chose Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. because I knew their quality and expertise was to the high standard my client required. I have to say their ability went way beyond my expectation. I was able to customize each piece – choose from their extensive range of woods and veneers, stains/finishes and hardware.

John’s knowledge of his profession and his company’s customer service is an asset to the clients who want the very best – his concern for a green approach and his thinking behind some of his designs – like the Solomon’s Desk, is awesome.

The finished pieces are exquisite and to top it off the packaging, which was for overseas, was of the same standard. Each piece will be enjoyed for many, many years.

Thank you for making it such a pleasure to work with your company and know that we will always receive furniture that is perfect.”

Heather Tomei
Tomei & Tomei Creative Consultants Limited
Maui, Hawaii



“Hello! It is a pleasure to thank you for the custom dining table fabricated by Wiggers. It is truly Wonderful! Fantastic! Beautiful! Wow! Now THAT’S A TABLE! My client is delighted with it also, not mention everyone who walks in. The table is so large…surely it could seat the United Nations comfortably. Thank you for such a gorgeous product!”

Kyle S. Weinstock
K.W. Interiors
Overland Park, Kansas


“John Wiggers is one of the best furniture makers I have ever met. He is one of only a few that I truly trust with our designs. His dedication to quality construction, material selection, fine finishes, and his sensitivity to design and detail is unmatched in the high-end custom furniture industry. His finished pieces are of an heirloom quality, so rare with today’s “throw-away” attitudes. Very, very impressive.”

Lee Weitzman
Lee Weitzman Furniture
Chicago, Illinois


We have had the opportunity to collaborate with Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. on several high-end projects and throughout our dealings with them they have always been professional, reliable and masters of their craft.

It is a pleasure to work with a company that is also knowledgeable in wood species and that is also able to produce extraordinary finishes. We are pleased to be able to recommend Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. for quality custom furniture and architectural woodwork.

Luc M. J. Wintzen
Luc Wintzen Design Inc.
Toronto, Ontario


“My husband and I decided to upgrade from a double to a queen sized bed, but were discouraged by the poor quality and questionable materials of today’s mass-produced furniture. Thus, we decided to have a new bed built that matched our current suite, with the additional criteria of sustainable and nontoxic practices. John Wiggers exceeded our expectations on all counts. John worked closely with us, providing detailed design drawings and photos by email. The Irenic Bed design was adjusted to our exact specifications, and was beautifully constructed such that the grain of the oak veneer radiates in an arc, providing a visually spectacular head and footboard. The materials used are FSC certified, the plywood core and glue are urea formaldehyde free, and the wood was darkened naturally with a vinegar/iron process. John and his son delivered our bed and assisted with its setup. We couldn’t be more pleased with the ease of the process and the final result. We highly recommend commissioning custom furniture from this talented, environmentally conscious, and service oriented craftsman!”

Kimberly and Mark Z.
Peterborough, Ontario

Kidney Shaped Desk – The Story Behind Its Creation

Posted in Artisanal, FSC, Furniture Making, Woodworking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by johnwiggers

In 2002 I was experimenting with ideas that would ultimately manifest as the Kidney Shaped Desk. My initial concept was an organic form that would incorporate a variety of green and holistic elements into the design. Given that Feng Shui principles consider a kidney shape to be most auspicious for use as a desk, I used this as my starting point.

During a visit to Miami in April of that year I floated the idea to Amelia Hyde and Monroe Sherman, who were partners in a showroom called Carriage House which was then representing my work in South Florida. Amy seemed quite receptive to the idea, which was no surprise given her interest in spiritual philosophies such as Tao and Zen Buddhism.

About a week after my return Amy called and asked me to explain more about the Ayurveda I was talking about during my visit. I didn’t have a clue what she was referring to and told her I could barely pronounce the word, let alone spell it. But for some reason Amy insisted that I had talked at length about Ayurveda and as she described what it was about she mentioned the connection of Ayurveda to yoga, and the connection of yoga to a famous supermodel and yoga practitioner by the name of Christy Turlington.

As soon as she mentioned Christy’s name I heard my fax line ring. It was an incoming fax from New York, from a furniture designer by the name of Vladimir Kagan. He was inviting me to a special party being held later that month. The invitation was for an event being hosted by Ralph Pucci in his Manhattan loft, which would be a joint unveiling of Vladimir Kagan’s furniture pieces alongside a new line of yoga inspired clothing by Christy Turlington.

Because of this unusual coincidence I decided to trust my intuition and immediately decided to accept. Since the party coincided with a major New York design show called the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) that I was planning to attend anyway, the logistics worked out perfectly.

After arriving at the designated address in lower Manhattan I stepped out of the cab thinking I was in the wrong location. I had been told that Pucci’s loft was magnificent, but the neighbourhood I was standing in was anything but. Nevertheless a discrete elevator ride to the loft soon confirmed that I was at the proper venue.

As soon as the elevator doors opened I was greeted with a palpable buzz of energy and excitment. Scattered throughout the 15,000 sq. ft. minimalist loft were countless bisque mannequins that were essentially full-scale reproductions of Christy Turlington herself. These mannequins were shown in a variety of different yoga poses and, naturally, each was also attired in various examples of Christy’s new clothing collection, called Nuala.

At the far end of the loft Vladimir Kagan was holding court amongst examples of his classic furniture collection. As soon as Vladimir saw me walk in he called me over and gave a big hug. It was wonderful to be greeted in this manner by such a design legend, because I had long admired his work.

When I was younger I used to enjoy reading various design publications to see examples of the most beautiful and exquisite furniture pieces ever made. A Rosewood desk by Vladimir Kagan had long been one of my favorites, and never could I have imagined at the time that one day I would be working with this icon to build some of his actual furniture.

As I walked around the loft and mingled with other guests I began to ponder the coincidence of being invited to this party. At one point I did get introduced to Christy, and did have a brief conversation with her. While our discussion did not provide any particular answer or overt moment of enlightenment for me, I was definitely struck by Christy’s open sincerity and genuineness. She is one of the very few people I have ever met who have an aura of presence that absolutely radiates positive energy.

By the end of the evening I left party pondering the enigma of attending an event that displayed beautiful, sculptural furniture alongside an ancient holistic principle such as yoga. When considering Ayurveda as the thread connecting the two, how would it be possible to merge them together as one?

The answer, I soon discovered, lay with someone I already knew.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger is an award winning author, independent scientist and passionate environmentalist living near Ottawa, Canada. On a secluded rural property shared with her husband Christian, Diana has spent many years and considerable effort researching and documenting the interconnected relationships that exist between trees and forests, and the wildlife that abounds within.

She is highly regarding for her illuminating and seminal work, and amongst her many admirers are colleagues such as E.O. Wilson of Harvard. In the 1960s Wilson effectively became the founding grandfather of the global environmental movement when he first coined the phrase “bio-diversity”.

I first learned about Diana in 1999 when I read a newspaper article describing her “Millenium Project”. The vision of this project was to share and distribute seeds from Diana’s collection of rare and endangered tree species. By doing this she hoped to establish new living examples of genetic strains that were at risk of becoming extinct.

In addition, by distributing these seeds widely it was also hoped that the resulting seedlings would become isolated pockets of bio-diversity, as well as a form of insurance policy in case disease, blight or other disaster happened to wipe out the sentinel trees that provided the original genetic material. Since in some cases there were only singular examples of these rare trees known to exist, this was a very valid and noble ambition.

Her “Millenium Project” sounded brilliant, and I contacted her to learn how I could participate. At the time I was in the planning stages of building a new shop, and the notion of introducing rare and unusual trees to the property seemed like a perfect one. Diana helped develop a bioplan for what I was intending to create, and over time our discussions evolved into an ever expanding exchange of ideas.

After my return from New York I continued to wrestle with the idea of how to meld holistic Ayurvedic principles with sculpture furniture design. Simultaneously I was talking with Diana about her latest book manuscript, entitled “Arboretum America”. She was having great difficulty getting this book published, and in an effort to get the word out she went to great lengths describing what the book was intending to say.

I listened with great interest as Diana explained the book, and how each of the 20 tree species described within were presented by way of their biological eco-function within the larger global garden. My interest was piqued further as Diana explained how each tree had a particular holistic attribute, or “gift”.

Apparently much of the information collected by Diana had originally come from Native American elders and healers. Her desire to document this traditional wisdom was driven by the fact that many of these elders were quite old, and once they died they would take their knowledge with them to the grave. Considering that most indigenous cultures base their information sharing and retention on oral tradition -with very little being written down – it was quite apparent that once this knowledge was lost it would be lost forever.

Eager to help Diana get her book published I invited her to an informal gathering that was to take place in Ottawa later that year, in conjunction with an FSC Canada board meeting being held there. Given that the event would be filled almost exclusively with people interested in protecting the forest, I felt certain that something beneficial for Diana would unfold.

On Saturday October 19th a number of us were gathered at the home of one of the Board members, who happened to live nearby. Diana and her husband Christian were in attendance as well, but before long it appeared that the evening would not unfold as hoped for.

After a day of intensive Board meetings most people were simply looking to unwind. Diana, on the other hand, was quietly eager to network and find means of clearing hurdles to her book. But aside from some polite discussion and general exchange of ideas no one was expressing any serious interest in her research. I felt disappointed that they may have wasted their time coming here.
At one point, however, one of the Board members was casually flipping through the manuscript when something caught her eye. In describing the medicine of a tree called Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Diana had pointed out that this tree’s active molecules (known scientifically as ellagitannins) were currently at the leading edge of ongoing research into finding a cure for cancer. Apparently Native American medicine women had discovered through many years of trial, error and observation that this tree’s natural properties were helpful in preventing disease.

Within minutes several women were tightly huddled around the book, reading with intense fascination. I glanced over to where Diana and Christian were sitting, and exchanged a smile. Not only had a catalyst been found to suddenly pique interest in the manuscript but I too had discovered, by default, the vehicle for melding Ayurvedic principles with sculptural furniture design.

Why not create furniture that incorporated discrete inlays of holistic woods, and let these examples become a tangible and tactile means of communicating the same message that Diana was trying to say on paper?

In the months that followed my ideas surrounding this concept continued to swirl in my mind. Ultimately they became manifest in a design called the Kidney Shaped Desk. Using careful mathematics and sacred geometric proportions based on Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra principles, this desk was also designed to utilize discrete inlays of wood that were ultimately suited to their particular holistic attributes.

For example, special cuttings of Black Walnut would be used to make finger pulls on the underside of drawers. In this way the act of opening the drawers would allow the active molecules of the wood to come into contact with one’s skin, where the molecules could be naturally absorbed into the pores. Inside the pencil drawer woods such as Hawthorn and Sassafras would be incorporated for their natural holistic and aroma-therapeutic properties. The scents of these woods would accumulate naturally inside the drawer while it was closed – and released each time the drawer was opened.

For the time that her manuscript remained unpublished, Diana asked me to sit on the information. Her concern was that if the knowledge was shared too early it might scuttle publication of the book. Out of respect, I complied. In the meantime the hiatus gave me ample opportunity to tweak and fine tune the proportions of the desk until everything was perfect.

It wasn’t until the following year that Diana called to say that University of Michigan Press had committed to publishing her book. At this stage she also gave me the green light to proceed with the desk, and help communicate the medicinal knowledge of the trees.

“It’s time”, she said.

Although eager to see this design manifest into reality, I was in no financial position to undertake the building of a prototype simply because it seemed like a great idea. Unless a buyer could be found who would commit to buying the finished piece before it was made, this design would have to be shelved indefinitely.

Little did I know that within days a buyer would end up appearing, in the form of a design visionary by the name of Todd Marckese.

I first met Todd while exhibiting at the Chicago Design Show in 1998. At the time he was principal of Marckese Design Studio in Orlando, Florida. His client list was prestigious and his work was recognised in many design publications including Architectural Digest, Florida Design and Showboats International.

Todd was exploring the idea of branding his own furniture collection, and he asked if I might be interested in doing product development and prototyping with him. We exchanged business cards, but it would be almost 5 years before we spoke again.

When he called in the summer of 2003, Todd asked if I remembered our conversation in Chicago. I did, largely because of the unusual business card he left behind. Measuring just over 2 inches square this card stuck out both literally and figuratively. Todd laughed at my observation, pointing out that it was necessary to be different in order to be remembered.

Todd went on to say that he was working on an upscale residence and the project required many unique pieces of custom furniture design. One of the pieces he was looking for was a desk, but it came with the proviso that his clients had strong holistic inclinations and, therefore, a conventional desk would not work.

As he described the parameters of the project my interest level piqued because it seemed the Kidney Shaped Desk design I had been tweaking for almost a year would meet the specifications perfectly. I faxed him the drawings and explained in detail the holistic attributes of the various woods I was intending to use as inlay.

After presenting the proposal to his clients, they fell in love with the idea and ended up commissioning the desk. The resulting piece measured 75″ x 35″ x 31-3/4″ overall height.

The main structure was crafted from FSC certified ply, and laminated with Macassar Ebony veneer. The inset of black Tuscany leather was bordered with a radiating grain pattern of wood that was cut to allow it to cascade like a waterfall down the vertical sides of the apron. The plinths on the legs were satin stainless steel.

Inset into the back of the desk were 3 drawers crafted from solid cherry. These drawers were mounted to the Macassar drawer fronts my means of sliding dovetail construction.

Inside the pencil drawer was a pair of trays made of a wood called Sassafras (Sassafras albidum). Sassafras carries within it an oil based complex of compounds that are naturally saturated within the wood itself – both as a wax and as oil. Through handling and the bumping action of contents (i.e. pencils and pens) rolling against the fibers of this wood, the oils contained within the Sassafras are released as an aerosol each time the tray is opened and exposed to air.

The oil of the Sassafras is related to Myrrh, one of the legendary woods of the ancient world. Sassafras is also the wood used for spiritual cleansing by many tribes of North American indigenous peoples, in the traditional sweat lodge ceremony.

Centered between the trays is a small storage compartment crafted from a block of rare wood known as Hawthorn (Crataegus). Hawthorn is a traditional healing wood that has been used in medicinal practice for a considerable period of time. It was well known to the ancient Greek herbalists, and records indicate that it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine dating back almost 5,000 years.

Hawthorn is an aroma-therapeutic healing wood since it produces an aerosol of complex compounds – all of which are medicinal. The primary benefit of the aroma-therapeutic properties of the Hawthorn is to help alleviate stress and strengthen the heart. According to Diana Beresford-Kroeger this aerosol is considered to be a tonic to the human body, since it helps to promote an overall feeling of well-being. This state increases the ability of the deep centers of the brain to promote increased and clearer thinking.

The Hawthorn storage compartment was covered with a lid that was crafted from the same cutting of Black Walnut used to make the inlaid finger pulls on the underside of the drawers. Set into the face of the lid were inlays of the three traditional healing metals of gold, silver and copper. Working with a jeweller these precious metals custom crafted into the shapes of an Eagle, Turtle and the sacred Tree of Life, respectively.

Collectively these 3 images tell the aboriginal story of Creation, which is essentially a parable that tells of the emergence into the current world after the previous one was destroyed by a great Flood.

Flood legends are found in the mythology of most ancient civilizations; from the Sumerians, Babylonians and Egyptians of the Middle East, to India, China and in the Americas in the myths of the Mayans, Aztecs, Hopi and numerous other Native American tribes. In Western society the most recognised of these legends is the story of Noah and the Ark, as recounted in Biblical story of Genesis.