The Logwood tree, which was once at the heart of Cayman’s economy, has found a new lease of life by being turned into eco-friendly, functional artwork.
Renowned in times gone by for the deep purple dye it contains, the wood has been found to make beautiful modern-day home-decor pieces.
And the wood from fallen trees is now being harvested on a small-scale basis for artisans to fashion into collectible items.
“We started off experimenting with the wood when we were developing potential salt containers,” explains Vanessa Polack, whose mother Monique Polack owns the family-run company Cayman Sea Salt.
“The wood wasn’t suitable for a salt cellar but we realised it was ideal for collectible home-decor pieces.”
Vanessa has now begun working with craftsmen to fashion exclusive pieces of art which are symbolic of Cayman’s heritage for her own business venture known as Cayman Logwood Products.
Each piece is branded on the bottom with a unique number and the year it is made, along with a signature trademark logo.
“I have workmen go out into the bush to source the fallen logwood,” says Vanessa.
“This is often from construction sites where the wood would usually be disposed of or burnt.”
The wood is cut into chunks with a chainsaw and then taken to the artisan’s workshop where he then spends two to three weeks “turning it” with hand tools.
The inaugural line has been labelled the “2013 Fall Collection”, and consists of three individually-styled bowls.
“What is so lovely about logwood is that no two pieces are the same,” says Vanessa.
“They are all different shapes and sizes, and are extremely durable as the wood is very hard.”
Each piece is left with a completely natural finish to ensure it is not only authentic and aesthetically-pleasing but environmentally-friendly too.