This post is in collaboration with Planet Ark’s Make It Wood campaign, which supports the use of sustainably sourced, certified wood.
I distinctly remember watching my father working in the garage after school, fascinated by the curls of sand-coloured timber tumbling out of the metal plane in his hand. My dad is a builder, so I’ve spent my life around wood in all its glorious forms. When I was in primary school, our family lived in a small village in Papua New Guinea where my dad was involved in developing humanitarian projects. These years cemented my love for wood. There was no television and limited electricity where we lived, and my father would use the time after dinner to carve timber until it became too dark to see clearly. He made tables out of a rich dark wood called kwila and intricate landscape scenes out of a variety of timbers. Below is one of the projects he made in 1988, and today it hangs in my bird-loving daughter’s bedroom. Isn’t that sort of connection incredibly beautiful?
For me, wood evokes an emotional response. It takes me back to happy times, brings the outdoors in and creates a sense of warmth in a space. Wood just makes me feel good and I look for ways to include and use it in our home, from furniture and toys to utensils and décor.
Interestingly, as part of this campaign, I was reading Planet Ark’s report on the benefits of wood (read the full report here) and I wasn’t surprised that results from an independent survey revealed that wood décor can produce physiological and psychological benefits, similar to those created by spending time in outside in nature. I find this to be true and I also find that wood is a strong memory marker. I think that is because of the organic nature of the material and somehow feels alive to me.
At the beginning of this year, I returned to Papua New Guinea to visit some of the places I lived as a child with my own children. We bought back this stunning hand carved kerosene wood bowl with shell highlights. This trip marks exactly 30 years since I lived in the region as a child. Never would I have foreseen that three decades on, I would be visiting again with my own four children. This beautiful bowl represents all those connections.
Exploring with my four cherubs in Papua New Guinea
Another memory marker is this sweet bowl we were given by Fernleaf Bed & Breakfast in New Zealand. Our visit was one of the BEST getaways we have experienced as a family and our hosts were just amazing. The bowl sits near the door and every day, I plonk the keys in on my way inside. There’s happiness in that.
My daughter enjoying one of the lambs at Fernleaf farm.
One of my strongest wood memories involves the blocks I used to play with as a child. I would create fences and buildings for animal toys and spend hours pretend playing. Now, I have the same toys for my children (you can find a photo of one of their play sessions here). I have mentioned this before in this post, wooden blocks are one of those toys all four of my children played with for many, many years. They are such a worthwhile investment and their durability means you can pass them on from generation to generation.
A new favourite for my children are these multicultural wooden block dolls. When my daughter was just a tot, I would often find one of these dolls in her hand.
I also look for ways to include wood as a feature in projects and special occasions. For example, these wood rounds added ambience to the Christmas table space and tied the look together. That’s what we want to do for our families, create spaces and moments that add value to life.
It has been a joy to write this post, and be part of the Make It Wood campaign. I am a huge advocate for using this renewal material in the home and encourage others to do the same.
Check out the Make It Wood website for information on choosing responsibly sourced wood, project tips, health benefits and more.