The craft of making new art from old wood 

Wood sculptor Andy Vogt does not waste trees for his art. His installations — each an “interactive sculptural environment” — are made of lathe, or thin strips of wood used in construction in the last century as backing for plaster.

The challenge is to find this material.

“I prowl the streets,” Vogt says, “looking for Dumpsters to scavenge. ... I have to dig deep because in demolitions the plaster and other material get dumped on top of the wood. What I find are 4-foot-long, quarter-inch thick strips made of wonderful Douglas fir, 100 to 150 years old.”

Vogt then uses the “born-again material” to weave into existing outdoor structures, for example, a chain link fence. His work is presented in conjunction with “Place Making: Installations at Hayes and Octavia,” a show at the Museum of Craft and Design’s latest pop-up location in Hayes Valley.

Vogt and curator Mariah Nielson will lead a walk-through and conversation Saturday afternoon at one event in the museum’s MakeArt Workshop and Speaker Series.

Exploring ideas of transparency and impermanence in the temporary public space, Vogt says, “Nothing exemplifies the transitional nature of the site more than the role of the fence that’s already in place. It has served to keep people out of a restricted parking lot. In its new incarnation, it contains the programming and space, inviting folks in to have an interactive experience.”

Other events in the series also feature site-specific installations developed in three themes: transparency, light and layering.

In the next few months, the museum offers workshops for creating radial designs for personalized mandala, seed mosaics and wire baskets.

The program also includes what it calls “Public Place Making Events” in which artists invite the public to participate in creating an installation. On Aug. 21, Jesse Schlesinger will collaborate with other local artists in a site-specific sculpture installation, which will remain on view through Sept. 15. On Sept. 17, experimental architects and California College of the Arts professors Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson will create an “environmental seating experience.”


Place Making: Installations at Hayes and Octavia

Where: Museum of Craft and Design at Hayes and Octavia, 432 Octavia St., San Francisco
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays; closes Oct. 15
Admission: $3 to $5; $10 for workshops
Contact: (415) 773-0303,

Workshop schedule

- Reclaimed wood lathe: 3 p.m. Saturday
- Mandala making: 1 p.m. Saturday
- Seed mosaics: 1 p.m. Sept. 10
- Wire basket-weaving: 1 p.m. Oct. 8

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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