Introducing the young, bright and super talented woodworker Rueben Bloom
Woodworking superstar Rueben Bloom has always had a knack for seeing beauty in those things we overlook. Under he’s watchful gaze, collected tree branches or discarded logs become stunning, handmade, unique works of art.
“I’m always looking to recycle wherever I can,” says Rueben. “Trying to minimise my impact and striving to recycle is something I really care about.”
A fine example of this are Rueben’s Christmas Trees, made from found sticks that have fallen from trees and are bleached by the sun, “which is how you get that lovely grey colour,” he says. “People are surprised to learn it’s not driftwood – it’s found in the bush so it tends to be a lot stronger than driftwood, which can be quite rotten.”
Other popular works from the young talent include candle holders made from larger fallen branches, coffee tables made from trunks felled by council workers, carved bowls and woven baskets. Everything is collected and given new life under Rueben’s skilled hands.
“I’ve been slowly gathering tools and materials – essentially collecting everything I can get my hands on. Whether that’s recycled Oregon, which I’ve started making furniture from, or just random bits I’ve found at council clean-ups,” says Rueben. “I’m really glad to have something innate in me, where I can see what can come from something that other people might have overlooked. Being able to preserve the history and showcase it through a work of art, I find that really beautiful.”
Working from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, nature is a constant source of inspiration for Rueben. “Nature is the biggest thing for me – it’s always there, it’s always evolving, it’s always doing something new,” he says. “There is always life everywhere you look, and if you take the time to look, you can find it anywhere. Ever since I could go out and explore, I’ve been walking on the rocks, building things from the environment, taking it all in. It really gives me a feeling of being present. I feel so fortunate to have that.”
Rueben hopes his work will help reconnect their lucky owners with the world around them. “There’s so much that we all throw away without much thought – being able to transform that which has been discarded into something functional, and hopefully beautiful, can remind everyone of their place in the world, and how much beauty is out there if we just look for it. Hopefully people can appreciate the love that goes into my work.”
More recently, Rueben has been looking at evolving his practice, like working with leather to create a strap around his signature striped candle holders. “I’ve been getting more and more messages from people offering up old bits of leather than I can reuse, even an old leather chair!” he says. “I’m keen to keep evolving my business and my techniques by trial and error while still staying true to my values of handmade and local. I’m looking to move forward while staying in the same place.”