"I remember growing up, walking in the forests, and realizing the potential of this natural resource," said Eva Haviarova, associate professor of forestry and natural resources. "There is something so peaceful about being in nature and recognizing the potential of its resources."
These childhood walks were one way Haviarova's parents connected her to nature. As she grew older, Haviarova realized that she had a different response to wood than she had to other materials, especially with furniture.
"Unlike other design materials, people tend to have stronger emotion toward wood," she said. "We have a sensory response to wood. Even the raw material can be a work of art."
And like many works of art, Haviarova believes wood has more potential than any other material.
"Every piece of wood is different, it has its own design, texture, and sound engrained in it," she said. "Before I do anything with a piece of wood, I think of the thousands of potential things I could do and then pick the one that highlights the material."
This idea has translated into her research, too. Haviarova helps create school furniture in developing countries. She researches chair joints to find ways to make them last longer and she uses leftover materials for repurposing projects.
"Wood is a very renewable resource," said Haviarova. "Once a piece of furniture has grown old, you can re-create it and make it into something else."
For Haviarova, sharing the potential of wood with others is another reward of her work.
"There is so much potential with wood," Haviarova said. "We just have to see it and use it."
This video is part of the Visionaries series, which highlights the work and lives of researchers in the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Visionaries is a collaboration with Envision magazine.
Check out the Envision story: "Using the Unused"
The videos were created by the student filmmakers of YDAE 491 (Digital Storytelling), part of the agricultural communication program in the Purdue Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.
The team members for this video are: Laine Barth (leader for this video), Rebecca Frazier, Sheradan Hill, and Hannah Tucker.