Located in Gifu Prefecture, about the center of Japan and well-known for its forest coverage rate up to 80 percent, Gifu Meiboku (precious wood) Market has gathered traders from all over the country and even abroad to sell and purchase wood material in various forms, from wood slabs to logs. The Gifuken Meiboku Kyodokumiai (Gifu Prefecture Precious Wood Cooperative), established in 1947, has inherited and utilized an unique bidding system that closes bids in seconds for every piece. The auctioneers take turns to stand next to or on the items for sale, and all interested buyers follow around to bid with their ideal price in mind. To better introduce and record such an exclusive wood culture, IWCS re-interviewed Gifuken Meiboku Kyodokumiai about the history, operation, precious wood, stories and experiences of the Gifu Meiboku Market and filmed the remarkable annual event preserving it as a legacy.
Over time, legacies are thought of as the most precious inheritances or heritages in diverse forms, passing on from generation to generation. But the power of a legacy lies in how it evokes people’s shared feelings and memories, and forges an innermost bond among them. The McCrary brothers, co-founders of a wood mill, have involved in responsible forest stewardship and timber production with an abiding love for the family land along the Big Creek area, California since 1946. Upholding and expanding the legacy, they come to seek for a continuation of environment-friendly, conservation-minded management that would contribute to the sustainable living of woodland in perspectives.
UrbanTree based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is bridging the gap between people and trees through strictly using reclaimed, donated lumber in their creations. This 3 minute vignette addresses this years theme of wood and humanity by showing how one woodworking shop is extending the lives of older trees that otherwise may be chipped into mulch, burned, or landfilled. They also craft and create with the notion that people should bring nature back into their lives and homes, and the trees are able to help fill this void by taking on a new form. UrbanTree does not remove trees and this is what makes them unique. Their personal take on wood and humanity however is what makes them really stand out. Alternate music / extended cut available.
An observation of the historically entwined relationship between wood and humanity, this three-minute documentary explores the story behind Brighton’s much lauded, The Wood Store. The first of its kind in the UK, our film celebrates the importance, and often under-appreciated role, wood has in modern life and how the store is revolutionising our understanding.
Adobe is also known as the southwest style of house in the U.S.. The houses are made of clay and vigas and latilla, which are usually made of spruce and aspen. Dan and Della Barrone, who run the Olguin’s Sawmill that provides timber for daily usage to the locals, have been in the trade for 28 years. In the video, they talk about the southwest house style, their sawmill, and why they operate their business in a sustainable way.
Napa Valley, a viticultural area located in north California, is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Servicing the wine industry for the last 20 years in Napa, Yann Guigen, a French cooper, makes his fine cooperage a vintage art and craft. Yann takes care of repairing and maintaining cooperage at Barrel Builders where French oak and American oak are used for wine barrels. From the type, age, grain to treatment, oak barrels provide flavor and aromatic support to the wine that they have been used in wine fermentation and aging for centuries.
As Santa Cruz is renowned for the exquisite craft of the lutherie, Santa Cruz Guitar Company (SCGC) is described as one of the star luthiers in that area. SCGC, a manufacturer of acoustic guitars founded in 1976, makes the best out of wood in the realm of music by using reclaimed wood and harvested new wood including Rosewood, Walnut, Sycamore, Red Maple, Cedar, Spruce and more, in a responsible approach. From time to time, Richard Hoover, the founder, selects the best sounding wood materials possible among downed trees, sunken logs, old tenements and building beams with his team to make the sophisticated stringed instruments.
Located in Central Japan, Gifu prefecture connects main roads to the west and the east coast. This makes it a suitable hub for log transporting and trading.
In the auction season, people come to Gifu Precious Wood Market and try bidding the precious wood they want. Auctioneers open the bids and start to read each specific price in a unique rhythm repeatedly to maintain the intensity of the atmosphere. In such an ambience, people will raise their price continuously and get the bid in a snap!
In front of the office, there stands a monument engraved with the words “Wood’s Soul”, which shows the homage Gifu people pay to the wood. They believe that the wood has guarded and protected them for hundreds of years.
Nagoya is in the west part of Aichi prefecture. It is located in the Chubu region between Tokyo and the ancient capital Kyoto hence people also name it Central Capital. Famous for its car industry with Toyota and other brands, Nagoya is the fourth most populated city in Japan.
In this industrialized city, there still lives a group of people who try to preserve the ancient Japanese wood culture. Some are struggling between the reality of life and their ideals of protecting traditional techniques, while some has made a fortune transforming wood art into business.
For example, Mr. Makoto Kuroda is a famous wooden chessboard master who insists to make woodcrafts in a traditional way in spite of the fierce competition of machine products or Chinese hand-made products. On the other hand, Mr. Tatsuro Hioki owns a chain restaurant serving crabs and Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is famous for its wooden interior design and it is popular among Japanese and people from around the world.
Portugal is the leading country of cork exportation in the world. From cork oak forests to manufacturing factories, every step is strictly legislated for protecting precious tree species. Apart from producing wine stoppers, cork bark is also used to develop eco-fashion and various items, including accessories, furniture, even clothes.
The region surrounding the Moshi Town, just at the bottom of the great Mount Kilimanjaro, is known for its forest resources and lively communities. Wood-related industries such as wooden box beekeeping and banana brewing prosper in this area. To help advance the development of the beekeeping business, the government, academia and local business owners have worked together to improve the business by modifying the traditional wooden bee boxes. On the other hand, many banana beer brewers have kept the traditional way of brewing with wooden barrels. Despite their different paths, people involved in these two sectors have worked to maintain the tradition and the culture related to wood utilization in the country.
Changbai Mountain, located in the northeast of China, has abundant natural resources. Long ago, the forest industry was a rather prosperous industry. However, due to forest protection policy, nowadays logging has strict limitations. We were lucky to be there at the end of logging season observing the whole process of logging, classifying and storing.
Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, owns the biggest port in the country. It is the commercial capital, majorly handling the export of oil, coca, metal, fruits and timber.
Wood is the most accessible natural resource in Cameroon and is therefore widely used in people’s daily life. We traveled to Youwpe and Miwake, villages around Douala, and collected plenty of precious information about how local people make good use of wood, and make products ranging from artistic sculptures and accessories, to canoes and charcoal. The people also maintain a sustainable way of using wood. For example, charcoal makers in the Miwake region, which is located southwest to Douala, pick only naturally dead trees as their raw material. By doing so, the timber is transformed into another form and becomes another useful product for the people.
The significance of Kysuce village is the historical forest dead-end railway. Connecting two independent forest railwaysin both Kysuce and Orava regions, this forest railway offered the shortest transportation route of logging industry between these two mountainous regions in the early 20th century. The whole track length extended from 61km when it was first constructed to nearly 110km at the end of 1920s. The most valuable part of the track overcame a noticeable rise of 217.69m on the shortest distance (air line) of 1500m with three pointed dead-end system. This tailor-made narrow gauge railway serves the main purpose of transporting logs out of the forest up in the Tatras Mountain.
Established in 1750, Burmester is one of the oldest cellars along the Douro River. This cellar has begun the port-shipping business, mainly to the British Isle and the rest of Europe since then, and now, it is a living winery showcased wine-making tradition of the area.
In Vila Nova de Gaia, the city located just across Douro River from Porto, Burmester and many of the other cellars took the advantage of natural moisture within the area, and built wine houses with thick walls and wooden ceiling to create a suitable environment for preserving wine. However, barrels of wine stored in this area were actually transported from the Upper Douro Valley, which is also one of the oldest vineyard regions that produces one of the best wines in the world, the Porto Wine.
Asin road, a famous road in the Baguio City, Philippines, is known for its wooden lacquer painting and polishing. Almost all woodcrafts in Baguio city or from the surrounding areas are sent to Asin road to be painted and polished. Lacquer painting and polishing is the last step of woodcraft making. These steps can brighten the wood colors, prevent termites, and cover minor flaws of the original wood surface.
On Asin road, most of the painters are women, because men are usually involved in carving or working in the city. Women used to paint and polish woodcrafts at home or in the neighborhood to earn some money to support their family.
Asin road can be regarded as the hub of woodcrafts making where carved woodcrafts are sent for painting and polishing. After all the processes are completed, finished products will be sent to Manila city and to be sold domestically or abroad.
Erdaobaihe town is located in the south of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, the foot of Changbai Mountain. The town is rich in its natural resources and has 94% of forest coverage and 190,000 hectares area of forest.
Because of its average altitude of 800 meters, the freezing weather is suitable for growing pines and birches. Here in Erdaobaihe town, there are 120 different species of trees and 30 types of precious trees.
Erdaobaihe town is one of the most important lumber yards in China. Therefore, 300,000 cubic meters of lumbers are produced at Erdaobaihe town every year.
Fusong County is located at the southeast of Jilin Province where Changbai Mountain is. Not only the magnificent natural landscape, but also the richness of resources attracts millions of tourists from the world.
Fusong County has a history of ginseng planting for over 400 years. In 1982, the total output of ginseng has reached 7,500,000 kilograms. Therefore, Fusong County is named as the “hometown of ginseng in China.”
Ginseng planting is the prominent industry in Fusong County where there is the biggest ginseng market in the world. Within the county, there is a ginseng museum that records and preserves the tradition of gathering ginseng in China.
Channapatna has already started producing sandal oil soaps since 1916. This sandal oil factory in Mysore is the only one in the world that manufacturing 100 percent pure sandalwood oil soap. However, the factory is currently only working 25 percent of its capacity because of the shortage of sandalwood resource.From the log to essence oil, the whole process is taken place within the factory. Apart from soaps, incenses and other sandal products are all of high quality with fair price.
Channapatna, located at the south-west of Bangalore, is well-known for its wooden toy-making. It has been estimated that more than 6000 people in Channapatna are employed in manufacturing toys in about 250 workshops and 50 factories. The prosperity of wooden toy-making has rewarded Channapatna as the “toy-town.”At the suburb of Channapatna, there is a traditional village. A row of bungalows, colorful walls, and lovely children portray the beautiful rural village. There are a few toy factories in the village. Although the exterior looking is not distinguishable, the buzz of motors gives the truth away. In the factory, workers share motor and use lathe to produce wooden toys.
There are two stories in the handicrafts shop in toy-town – Channapatna. The upper floor serves as a shop, while the downstairs is a manufactory. Here, visitors can closely see each process of toy-making. This is indeed a fascinating experience. All the toys are traditionally made of ivory wood by hand and are naturally dyed. These non-toxic toys are not only of high quality but priced fairly. In the shop, there are many other kinds of local wooden crafts. If you are interested in wooden handicrafts, Sri Kaveri is definitely worth a visit.
There is a wood carving factory located in Jinghong City. Because of governmental regulation as well as the rising environmental awareness, people cannot arbitrarily cut down trees, many factories are using abandoned wood to create. After the traditional wood houses in Myanmar, Laos, and China were tear down, these wood were giving second life in these carving factory, by using them to create antique furniture, which are the imitation of Ming and Qing dynasty.