• Paul Troyano creates 'Living Furniture' from found branches and bark

    Since 2001, the Mid-City craftsman has been collecting branches and barks of all kinds and repurposing them into unique, hand-crafted furniture and utensils for his certified green company, Living Furniture.
    “I had been making furniture for 20-plus years, but I was looking for a fresh approach,” Troyano said. “I needed to make what I was seeing in nature so I tried to build furniture that would imitate nature’s designs and give recovered wood new life and beauty.
    “I named my company Living Furniture so it would reflect what I was trying to do. Trees are living creatures that support us by taking our carbon dioxide waste and giving back oxygen.”
    Troyano is primarily self-taught, but has participated in various workshops throughout the years. He learned woodworking and furniture shaping from renowned contemporary furniture craftsman Sam Maloof, with whom he credits much of his artistic inspiration. Now the tables have turned, and Troyano is teaching a new generation of artisans his skill as a wood-working instructor at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Creative Arts Camp this summer.

    ELIOT KAMENITZ / THE TIMES PICAYUNE Woodworker Paul Troyano with his table and bowls. His Living Furniture ranges in price from $20 for a spoon to $1,200 for a game table at Ariodante Contemporary Craft Gallery, 535 Julia St., 504.524.3233; Spruce Eco-Studio, 2043 Magazine St., 504.265.0946; and the Arts Market at Palmer Park.

    Living Furniture is made from a variety of local and domestic woods, including pecan, mulberry, camphor, sweet olive, magnolia, Chinese elm, pear, cypress and cedar. Exotic woods like padauk and purpleheart also are used for ornamentation and derived from certified forests that indicate they are replanted with the ecosystem in mind. The collection also includes bowls, cutting boards and utensils that are hand-rubbed with Danish oil, making them non-toxic and food safe.
    In April, Troyano’s work ranked in the top five picks at the “Salvations” juried furniture exhibition and auction benefiting the Green Project, and, in 2010, he was the recipient of the “Curate This!” international public vote award from the BECA Foundation.

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