Jess Osserman


ALVARET

I made this cabinet by hand while studying as an exchange student at Capellagården, a craft school in Sweden started by Carl Malmsten. I was inspired by the unique rambling landscape, called alvaret, which stretched across most of Öland. I loved spending my weekends watching the rapidly changing patterns of cloud, sky and sea as the wind blew weather out to the Baltic Sea.
Building this cabinet was an exercise in meditation through craft. The details of the design are entirely unecessary, the effort of countless hours, barely noticed. The tree, a local ash tree, was cut into planks and air dried. Years later it comes into my posession, and I mill it into strips only 2mm thick, and 10mm wide. I cut these down into segments with an arbitrary angle on them, arbitrary but precise, identical. After handplaning each edge to create hundreds of identical paralellogram pieces, I superglued one to another, a process I liken to brick laying. A resulting herringbone pattern emerges, absurdly subtle, unnoticeable to the untrained eye. I used this veneer on the inside of the cabinet, along the walls, floor and ceiling  - the spaces least noticed in a cabinet. The veneer is glued to a subtrate I made myself as well, lumbercore, a precursor to plywood. This too is entirely invisible, felt only in the lightness of the cabinet, which one does not feel, as it is wall mounted. The doors contain handwoven fabric, another time consuming activitiy, a mediation through craft, the string handspun (though not by me) and woven (by me) into a open style fabric. In the place of the conventional glass cabinet doors, I chose to fill the void, to obscure the view, forcing the viewer to slide open the doors, to look for what is inside, rather than know it from the start.
The cabinet measures roughly 750 mm x 150 mm x 125 mm.