Komorabi Sign

768 1024 Thuja Wood Art - Reclaimed Cedar Furniture Wood Art Vancouver Victoria Gulf Islands British Columbia

‘Komorabi’ is an untranslatable Japanese word, which eloquently captures the effect of sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees.  A client from the north eastern corner of the USA commissioned me to make an address sign with the Japanese characters for ‘Komorebi’ along with their address.  They sent me pictures of the property for inspiration and in every one the light was streaming through the trees, so it seemed pretty obvious what I should draw for the design on the sign.  I took the shadows and streaming light from their pictures and tried as best I could to simplify it into a design I could carve using basically only positive and negative spaces, a 2 dimensional line drawing.  I was happy with the way it turned out as the lines of shadow and light keep your eye moving around the design, then draw you to the sun setting on the lake in the middle.

The body of the sign is also made with another very Japanese design, the Torii Gate.  The sign is made entirely from salvaged old growth red cedar driftwood split by hand.  This sign is quite tall as the ground where they live is covered with snow all winter so they wanted the sign high enough to be seen above the snow most of the time.  To build the sign I used floating tenons assembled with waterproof glue.  The sign is finished with 2 coats of OSMO UV protection oil.   Thanks Hal for such a thoughtful and personal project.


Colin Hamilton

All stories by: Colin Hamilton
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