When we think of sustainable products, we often think about fashion, furniture, and household items. But how about art? Today we introduce you to Martijn Smulders, an artist who makes tiles out of recycled wood panels.
Owner and founder of the Stigerwoods concept, Martijn is based in Amsterdam. After obtaining his Master’s degree in Fine Arts, he was struggling to fit into the independent artist mould, and therefore created Stigerwoods. Martijn believes in finding wonder in ordinary things, which can be seen in all of his collection pieces.
Martjin is captivated by the details and patterns in things that to most people, often go unseen. He believes that we tend to overlook those details that can, in reality, be quite charming. And when we accentuate them, we become aware of their rich colour and composition.
How do recycled wood panels turn into tiles?
Martjin uses recycled wood that shows clear signs of usage. The wood is not polished, and does not have a perfectly smooth surface. Martjin chooses wood that shows the raw characteristic of its natural material, wood grain.
The wood panel itself takes about two to three weeks to be completed. It is a 16-step process which includes drying and layering, and is all done by hand. Martjin then transfers an image, e.g. a vegetable or a lobster, onto the recycled wood panel, and then adds a layer of epoxy gloss. The gloss helps to highlight the colours and details of the image. Each tile is then glued together, and each wood panel has holes in the back to allow for easy hanging on the wall. There is no one piece that is identical to another, because Martjin makes everything by hand himself. And despite looking like ceramic tiles, the end product is not heavy since the base material is wood, making it easy to carry.
The old (wood) and the new glossy finish create a balance, and makes art more interesting, in Martjin’s opinion. He believes the imperfection of the wood creates more space for imperfect but elegant art. “Imperfection is made perfect in my work” is something that Martjin abides by.
Martjin has created a series of tile collections using recycled wood panels and images.
The skateboard collection comes from his personal passion about skateboarding, and is made of recycled rugged skateboards and stained glass from European cathedrals.
The herbarium autumn leaves collection consists of different types of autumn leaves on one tile.
The dried flowers collection is made up of various flowers and leaves from the Amsterdam Flower Market and in the Broek village in Waterland. Martjin believes that flowers and leaves are vulnerable and incredibly detailed in their composition, and yet we rarely think about the fallen leaves at our feet.
The Bali collection focuses on fish, leaves, shellfish, and octopus tiles. They were inspired by what Martjin found when strolling through Bali and the local markets.
The Green collection are items found at local markets, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cacti.
Finally, the Special collection contains a lot of black and white pictures of Amsterdam, amongst other things such as plants, birds, flowers, and fruits.
Customers can also contact Martjin directly to discuss possibilities of using their own picture for a tile, or simply to ask for different sizes.
These handmade tiles made out of recycled wood prove that art can be elegant, charming, and imperfect all at once.