Thursday, 26 November 2015

Colour Collaborative: November: Wood


Wood is such a fundamental part of our homes and lives, even in this age of modern fabricated materials. Despite man's synthetic inventions, there is nothing which comes close to the beauty, usefulness and versatility of wood.



There is a colour of wood to suit everyone, from the palest maple and light oak through the warm middle ranges of cherry and hickory to heavy dark walnuts and the pitch black of ebony. Every wood has its own qualities. Soft pine for simple furniture. The exquisite distortions of burrs, polished into table tops. Durable oak, lasting for centuries as building timber.



Around the house I have an eclectic mix of light and dark, old and new, practical and pretty. My old piano, bashed by children and nibbled by that enemy of all things wood, the woodworm.



The sun has faded it in places, but the wood still holds a soft beauty, from its paler tan sides to its rich cherry lid.

A chopping board, bleached and scarred over time. The natural antibacterial properties of wood make it perfect for use in the kitchen. I'd never swap it for a manmade material, the wood is perfect.


Knitting needles, warm and smooth and quietly clicking. I love the feel of a natural material in my hands while I work. Why oh why do they make plastic needles for children? I always think children should have nice tools to start with, to inspire them.


An old table, bought years ago from a shop in Tetbury. Nothing flash; scarred and pitted. But a practical thing, that one day could be just returned to nature when its days of usefulness end. That is the main beauty of wood, that it is part of the environment. There don't need to be any harmful contaminating processes in its production or finishing, and it need never end up in landfill. The growing of trees is about as sustainable as it gets.

And in almost every room here, wooden bookcases. Somewhere for all those stories to live, while they're waiting for someone to escape into them. Somewhere for a plant to grow or a candle to flicker. And while the small people are at school, it's somewhere for a bear to take a rest.


Wishing my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving, I hope you have a lovely day.

To visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:

         Annie at Annie Cholewa                                  Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

         Jennifer at Thistlebear                                      Sarah at Mitenska

         Sandra at Cherry Heart

What is The Colour Collaborative?

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

37 comments:

  1. Lovely words and photos. We just had wooden worktops fitted - they look great but aren't that practical, even after being thoroughly oiled...
    Your scarred and much used table looks wonderful. Wood's all about character isn't it?
    S x

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  2. Beautiful - and so true. I love how natural materials get lovlier with age and wear in a way that man-made things never do.

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  3. I'm another wood fan. The oak beams here have all been painted black (aargh!) so now we've got the messy job of stripping them back to see the natural wood in all its glory.

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  4. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Trees should be cherished and protected as they provide us with one of the most important natural resources there is. Flighty xx

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  5. Such an enjoyable post, I love wood too in all its glory and shades. The ageing process and change of colour is beautiful. Love the piano.

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  6. In my wildest dreams the mister has built us a house of wood - his life lomg ambition - and furnished it with pieces he's made himself. Sadly without a lottery win that would allow us to buy a plot of land and a very big shed I fear I can only dream.

    Where are those gorgeous timber frame houses CJ?

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    1. They're in Frampton-on-Severn, I don't know if you know it. We go there for a wander quite often, it's got the longest village green in the country, and all along either side are loads of different houses, from a grand country mansion and an ancient farm down to little cottages. I never get tired of it.

      The barn is an old wool barn, also in Frampton.

      A house made of wood would be a lovely thing wouldn't it. CJ xx

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  7. I love old wood and love to see its character and age shining through. We've just this morning wrestled our 1980s solid natural wood bedstead down from the rafters of the garage and it's now in pieces in the kitchen awaiting a damp cloth and then a beeswax polish. Can't wait. I think it looks better now than it did when it went up there 20 years ago and I definitely won't be painting it! Lovely post CJ.

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  8. We're big wood fans too. I do love painted furniture and have been quite tempted to get the old Annie Sloan out for a few of our pieces, but it just seems a little final. Your piano is lovely - ours is quite similar (an Eberhart) but has had the candle sconces removed at some point. I'm glad to hear that wood has antibacterial properties - I had been wondering about getting a plastic chopping board that could go in the dishwasher, but I'll happily stick to my wooden one now! xx

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  9. I think I've come to appreciate wood more as I've got older. There's nothing more beautiful than an old wooden table which has seen decades of family life, with little marks and scars holding the secrets of the activities which have taken place around it. There's a patch of varnish missing on my table where Eleanor spilt nail varnish remover, and splodges of super glue, there's no chance of getting rid of that and no one's owning up to that one.

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  10. I'm a wood fan too. I love the fact that it is what it is. No man-made gunk necessary. My favourite Grand Designs house was the wooden house built by Ben Law. He's got a lovely website now - have a Google! Sam x

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    1. Sam- funny you should mention Ben Law, I've just been re-reading his Woodland Way book this afternoon for an assignment (see below) CT :o)

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    2. I've had a look, you're right he does have a lovely website, and he sounds like a really inspirational person, thanks for pointing me in his direction. I was lucky enough to spend some time with a coppicer back at the end of the summer and it was absolutely fascinating. Something I'd like to learn more about. CJ xx

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  11. I am working on an assignment which is all about fencing right now. Yes, I know, my thoughts exactly. But the interesting bit has been learning about the wood that is used. Mostly softwoods, that enemy of broadleaved forests after the second world war, but also Sweet Chestnut, ancient and durable and of course, part of the old coppice system that benefits so much of our wildlife. I loved all your pictures and your words, thought-provoking, as you so often are XX

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  12. Wood is beautiful and just gets better with age. What a beautiful piano!

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  13. I love your post about wood.. it's something we tend to take for granted but if you look at each wooden piece of furniture in your home you realize how necessary and wonderful it is! Thanks for the turkey day wishes.. our is roasting in the oven right now. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. Lovely lovely post, old pre-loved wood is always an interest to me. The history & the feel of it gets me every time x

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  15. CJ, I'm so envious of the gorgeous wooden pieces in your home! That table is just lovely. I'd love a kitchen table so bashed and scarred that I never worried about putting down a wet cup without a coaster, or a hot plate without a mat. I love our dining table but good lord it's high maintenance. xx

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  16. Gorgeous photos and the old building are wonderful :)

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  17. I love wood too. Never thought to use wooden knitting needles, something for me to try, I guess they will feel great. Often look for driftwood on the beach, sometimes I get lucky and find some beautiful pieces. Beautiful photos as always . Barbara x

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  18. Lovely post CJ, wood is such a tactile and warm material, far superior to anything man-made and I adore your old piano. Have a lovely weekend. Jane xx

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  19. Lovely post CJ, wood is such a tactile and warm material, far superior to anything man-made and I adore your old piano. Have a lovely weekend. Jane xx

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  20. I so enjoyed your post. Beautiful photos, a lovely varied selection of items made from wood and lovely descriptions to match each picture. Pure poetry. Thank you for starting my day so well.

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  21. Lovely post CJ - I like the mention of the burr wood, not many people are familiar with that.

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  22. Wonderful post, CJ. I know the subject of the post was wood, but the item that caught my eye was the teddy bear. He looks so loved, and perhaps a bit lonely sitting there all by himself. :-)

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  23. Your piano is so beautiful, CJ. I just love old musical instruments. They have a lot of character. I enjoyed seeing all the different varieties of wood in your home. We have a lot of different types and finishes too, mainly because we aren't very picky about what we bring in. Maybe someday when there's more money and fewer roughneck people around here. :)

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  24. You are lucky to have such a beautiful piano! I have a wooden chopping board that has lived with us since I can remember. I would not ever swap it for anything else. Wood brings comfort, all those soft tones and it always feels warm. x

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  25. Thanks for your Happy Thanksgiving wishes, CJ. We had a very happy celebration with new baby Sarah in our household. I loved seeing some of the "woods" around you and thinking about your narrative of how they colorfully are a part of our lives. Personally, I am very partial to and appreciative of using my wooden knitting needles and crochet hooks of various colors :) Thanks for posting xx

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  26. oh how I love a house filled with natural woods.

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  27. Exquisite and enjoyable post, the houses have enormous character and charm. Wood has such variety and colour.

    So far we have planted 207 trees this month. The oldest tree on our farm is around 750 years and has a girth of 42 feet, it is an Oak. I often think of the tales it could tell!

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  28. Hey CJ,
    Oh how I love these collaborative posts! I do like to see a table with a history on it's surface. Mine is glass topped, although the trestle legs are wood. I have always hankered after one of those scrubbed pine farmhouse tables. My friend Catherine's family were farmers, and their kitchen housed the biggest wooden table I have ever seen. I adored it from the moment I clapped eyes on it as an eleven year old. It was older than the hills.
    Leanne xx

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  29. I too enjoy wood very much. What a magical place !! Love that barn.

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  30. Lovely post and you're right that truly is the beauty of wood it is the ultimate natural, recycleable material!

    S x

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  31. We do take wood so much for granted thank you for reminding me of all it's uses. Natural materials are always more welcome in our home. Sarah x

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  32. What a beautiful piano, such a lovely colour. We too have lots of wood in our house, it wouldn't be a home without it. Super post, CJ. xx

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