Salvaged Scraps of Wood Nest Together in Richard Haining’s Elegant Curved Vessels


#Richard Haining

All photos by Joe Kramm, courtesy of Richard Haining, shared with permission

In the late aughts, Richard Haining began salvaging leftover wood. While working for a set design company, he realized that the sizable waste generated was also an untapped opportunity for his personal projects. “What I did not have in the way of disposable income, I did have in the way of access to tons of scrap materials,” he says. “I couldn’t afford purchasing new materials to create the ideas I had in my head, but I could take smaller scraps and use those as building blocks.”

Armed with quarter-inch hunks of plywood pulled from the dumpster, Haining realized the first vessel in his ongoing STACKED series. The Brooklyn-based artist shapes each curvy form by gluing together each rung piece by piece, which lets him adjust the wall thickness and final profile as he works. “Imagine coil pottery…or an analog version of 3-D printing,” he adds, likening the process to ceramics. Once the shape is complete, he uses an angle grinder and various hand tools—but not a lathe—to smooth the surface and allow the individual grains to shine through.

Whether a tall amphora with a skinny neck and handles or a squat, bulbous vase, the works highlight the wood’s unique textures and colors arranged in intuitively laid patterns. And, using scraps also means that Haining’s sculptures bear the marks of past wear. “Water and mineral stains, contrasting heartwood and sapwood, knots, century-old nail and beetle holes, these ‘defects’ are part of that lumber’s history, a fingerprint of time since passed,” he says.

In addition to the vessels, the STACKED series extends to furniture, lamps, chandeliers, mirrors, and other functional designs. Haining often has several projects in the works, and you can follow the latest on Instagram.


three wooden vessels made of wood components fitted together

two curvy wooden vessels made of dark and light wood components fitted together

two curvy wooden vessels made of dark and light wood components fitted together, the left is tall and darker and the left is short and lighter

a detail of a wooden amphora made of small components

seven curvy wooden vessels made of wood components fitted together

a process shot of a sander sanding down individual hunks of wood fit together

a bald white man in a jean shirt, jeans, and sneakers stands next to a tall wooden amphora

#Richard Haining


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