Where inspiration meets motivation.
June 11, 2024
Where inspiration meets motivation.

Riven wood 🪓🪵 chair 🪑, made in the woods 🌳 of Vermont at Blackbird Fly.

After my visit to NYC for @icff_official design week, I was invited to my friends @slaytoneric & @elenalyakir’s self-designed & built home, “Blackbird Fly.” Eric, an artist & avid ornithologist, catches migrating songbirds 🐦 each year for research. He gently weighs, records, & bands the birds before releasing them back into the wild. I had the privilege of releasing a Gray Cat Bird, feeling its heartbeat before it flew into the dense woods.

Eric is immersed in nature, recognizing our responsibility within the environment. This connection inspired their move from NY to VT, where they flourish within their rewilded meadow. Elena captures nature’s beauty in her ethereal photo’ artworks, transmitting felt emotions & allowing viewers to see nature as if for the first time. Even her son, Kai, shares this passion, proudly showing off his tarantula, Speedy

Inspired by this setting, I embarked on a half-day project to create a Riven wood chair; I’ve always wanted to build a chair from firewood, pre-cut to length! Riven wood is split along the grain, maintaining its strength & reducing waste. 

With a hatchet🪓, I tried to split VERY hard oak. Eric took pity & helped by chainsawing a log 🪵 from a fallen VT pine. I also upgraded to a Swedish @gransforsbruk axe 🪓 & crafted the chair components, assembled the frame, & split planks for the seat & backrest. The final touch was securing the joints with hand-whittled wooden pegs.

The chair came together beautifully, tested & approved by the family. It was one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve done. This approach is direct, unique, & sustainable. I feel inspired to explore more, refining the process without losing its spirit.

My friend Krish pointed out, “John, you’re a bodger in the woods now.” Maybe I am, for a day!

Designed & Crafted by John Reeves.
Tree felled & logged 🪵 by Eric Slayton in VT.

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