IIDEXCanada 2017
IIDEXCanada Blog

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Sarah Rose Woods

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Sarah Rose Woods

Toronto's vibrant urban wood industry is being threatened by invasive species, old age and natural disasters. The result of which is having a devastating impact on Toronto's urban forests and canopy coverage which sees 100,000 felled trees headed to city landfills annually.

To respond to this issue, Economic Development and Culture at the City of Toronto launched the Urban Wood Industry Development Initiative in order to encourage homeowners and industries to salvage and re-use trees felled in the Greater Toronto Area.

Together with our partners at the City of Toronto, Ontario WoodAWMAC, Sawmill Sid and PCL Graphics, IIDEX Woodshop has become the place to showcase how this valuable resource can be repurposed to create innovative, market-ready commercial and consumer prototypes.

Meet the designers that will be a part of this year's 5th annual special feature collection.


About Sarah: Sarah makes functional furniture and furnishings. Influenced by traditional handcrafted joinery techniques, her work hybridizes the integration of wood and other materials in a modern interpretation. After studying Environmental and Furniture Design at OCAD University, she created her own practice as a Furniture Designer and Maker. She is an Artist-In-Residence at the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, and a Woodshop Technician at Queen Elizabeth Community Centre, Oakville. She teach woodworking to various age groups and abilities, from kids at summer camp to Woodturning for the Blind. She believes woodworking to be an incredibly therapeutic and empowering skill that everyone is capable at refining.


What are your thoughts on the intersection of functionality and aesthetics in design?

The value we perceive in objects and furniture derives from the functionality as precedence over form. When the aesthetic is executed rationally and simply so as to not impede functionally, the design is successful.

What inspired you to apply for the IIDEX Woodshop 2017 competition?

Raised by two loving botanists, my childhood revolved around conservation and the protecting of the Credit Wetland in Mississauga. Home to a rich ecological diversity of plants, birds, and frogs, this area serves as a vital hub in the Credit River watershed. I advocated for the preservation of our environment as a child, and continue today as a woodworker. With the devastating effects of the Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth and Long Horn Beetle, I work with arborists in Mississauga to rescue and upcycle this valuable material.

Why do you like working with wood as a material?

Wood is soft enough to sculpt with tools and rigid enough to withstand the weight of the world. Trees are an incredibly strong material, providing an architectural canopy beyond our house while living- and once refined to wood- it can furnish our homes to last a lifetime.

In your opinion, why are people drawn to wood as a material in the spaces they often frequent?

Recollecting on childhood probably evokes fond memories of climbing trees or playing with wooden blocks. Wood is a material that fascinates everyone. It undergoes a dramatic transformation once processed and can be manipulated in an unlimited variety of ways- from paper to bent lamination- or timber framing to chopsticks.

You get to add any new tool or piece of equipment to your workshop/studio. What would it be and why?

A dream-machine for me would be a 1979 Ford F-150. I would modify the bed to a woodshop-mobile with a power take off so that I could woodturn across the country. I want to spread the knowledge of women woodturning, promote woodworking for all, and break the stereotype of crafts-man-ship.

To learn more about Sarah, discover her work on Instagram.

Don't miss the fifth annual IIDEX Woodshop at IIDEXCanada 2017. Register today