When Matt Hanns Schroeter started working out of Space, he was just looking for a studio for his 2D art; he knew nothing about woodworking. Space is a community-based modular co-working space in Vancouver, designed to accommodate the needs of individual artists, groups, special projects, and events. It’s a creative community and network that encourages participation, sharing, support, and the opportunity to be a part of and contribute to diverse projects. That was how he met Patrick Christie.
“I was just looking for a studio, but Patrick really opened my eyes to working with wood,” said Schroeter. “It’s a completely different world. Patrick was very much a mentor to me.”
Christie is an independent contractor, entrepreneur, and artist doing work primarily under Daly Co. Design. He’s also the founder of Space and an organizing member of TWIG. Wood is his creative medium, specifically wood from BC, as he sees its impact on a social, environmental, and cultural level. Through this connection, Schroeter began to explore wood as a medium and jump into 3D art.
“I worked with off-cuts that were lying around the studio, learning to work with different woods and different tools,” he explained. “And I ended up exhibiting some of my work at a show.”
The Made from Scraps series was intended to spark a new conversation about sustainability, as artists and designers innovate products and applications that provide practical solutions to design and objects of value, sentimentality, beauty, and longevity – all made from scraps.
“Made From Scraps was established to provide a new context for the artist to create within that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and the development of new skills and techniques,” said Christie. “I wanted to see artists step outside their comfort zone, go bigger while getting to explore and play with new materials.”
And that was exactly what Schroeter did. He was one of over forty artists who exhibited their work in the series. What made him different was that his submission was his first-ever completed woodworking piece. “State of Flow” is a versatile piece of furniture. It is both sculptural and functional.
“It’s a bench, a side table, and often, in our house, a stool,” he explained. “My two-year-old loves it.”
The piece has a lot in common with Schroeter’s 2D work. He’s invested in organic shapes and forms, and a lot of his work deals with the intersections of identity. One of the main differences I noticed was the colour. His illustrative work features vibrant shades, but for “State of Flow,” he stuck with the natural tones of the maple, birch, and cedar.
“It really made me realize that form is just as important to my work as colour,” he reflected. “I’m glad I didn’t hide it behind a layer of paint; I loved seeing the grains and waves come out during the finishing process.”
Recently, Schroeter teamed up with Christie again, presenting his idea at TWIG’s Pitch Night Zero. It was a platform for people to get on-demand input and feedback from a range of wood-based perspectives. Pitch night is also for those who want to contribute their experience to the emerging generation of wood-based entrepreneurs. Schroeter presented his “State of Flow” piece within the context of furniture pieces in the home.