As with all imports, it's easy to disconnect and dissociate from products that come from so far away. Alexandra Climent learned this years ago — long before she was crafting sustainably-sourced wooden wares in her Brooklyn studio. While working for a construction company to pay for school in 2008, she decided to try finding high-quality lumber directly at its source, and seeing if she could purchase it for less than it was in the states. This brought her to South America, where she discovered her love of exotic trees. Wanting to work with this wondrous lumber without contributing to deforestation, she decided to try taking the stumps of felled trees and ethically transporting them back to the U.S.
But exporting large amounts of wood isn't easy, especially when done ethically. In order to amass enough stumps and naturally felled trees to ship, Climent trekked to many remote South American concessions and formed friendships with local vendors.
The challenges didn't end once the wood was back in New York either. Driving from saw mill to saw mill, she was constantly told that the stumps couldn't be cut. Finally she was able to procure a saw to try and cut one herself — which resulted in her first tabletop.
Climent learned how to work with the "uncuttable" wood herself and now makes extremely elegant art, boxes, bowls and furniture. When asked if she has a favorite piece, she confesses “When I’m making one of my pieces, it always feels like my favorite,” but she's extremely partial to the Annular Platter, pictured above, because you can see every single growth ring in the round.
She's also in the process of collecting more rare wood from all over Panama while using native land to grow endangered tree species. Woodworking isn't usually synonymous with growing trees, but nothing about Climent's work is conventional. More about the products and their origins can be found on the Sustainably Sliced website.