Don’t be surprised if your breath catches when you first look at the creations of mth woodworks (named for the initials of its principal, Michael Thomas Host). Locally salvaged, western redcedar is used in every one of his pieces, fluting and flaring in different ways to yield stunning designs. The famous giant evergreen is readily available in British Columbia, and native son Michael hand-sources every scrap himself.
Michael trained as a yacht builder before getting his start in woodworking in Brooklyn in 2000, returning to Vancouver two years later. He spent a decade acquiring new skills in wood and, in 2010, made his first Bloom table, a culmination of his experiences both in marine resins and in woodworking. He’s continued to combine these abilities to develop a line of striking furniture, pairing resin surfaces with reclaimed tree branches, stumps and offcuts.
“It’s a great and humbling feeling to be considered a Canadian artist.”
He’s proud to live in what he considers the best country in the world, and he feels this shines through in Canadian craftwork. “B.C. has such a huge variety of terrain, from desert to rainforest. There’s never a shortage of inspiration,” he says. “The species that thrive here have become the basis of my whole career.”
The materials Michael uses often guide his design ideas. “It’s difficult to imagine a piece until a form reveals the path to the final design,” he says. One of his favourite designs is the Bloom Bench, not only because of the subtle details he builds into it but also because of the way each bench shows off the grain – everyone is different.
It’s important to Michael to be “eco-friendly from start to finish.” In addition to his salvaged tree segments, his proprietary blend of marine grade resin is derived from peanuts and soy. Besides being conservation-conscious, the resin has proven to be a perfect product for his seating and tabletops.
Is it a Rorschach test? Everyone sees something different in Michael’s striking Bloom headboards. The designer says each item in his Wall Art series aims to tell a story. He admits they are eye-catching, but points out his intent is to feature the growth rings in each panel, “putting a slice of B.C. history on display, allowing the viewer to look back into the past.” These dramatic renderings of Canada’s natural history bring the client a little closer to nature. Find some history of your own on the mth woodworks website.