“Why are scars seen as negative? They’re part of a story and are exactly what gives each piece its own unique character.”
Woodworker, Kaza Wood Furniture & Accessories
“Why are scars seen as negative? They’re part of a story and are exactly what gives each piece its own unique character.” Marcus Melo, the creator behind Kaza Wood Furniture & Accessories employs this philosophy with every piece of wood he works with. Whether it will be shaped into a tea light centrepiece, charcuterie board, or large coffee table, each piece of wood is beautiful in its own right and should be shown for what it is, rather than sanitized by filling any rotted gaps or holes, covering any rustic character, or even maybe removing the woods natural edge.
Though he has great affection for spalted & ambrosia maple, this is precisely why Marcus doesn’t identify any particular wood as being his “favourite” to work with. His passion is for the process of engaging with the customer to help them find a connection with a particular species of wood and crafting a piece that will inspire that same connection for many years to come.
One thing that Marcus shares with many of his fellow Ontario Wood partners is that Kaza Wood Furniture is the story of a hobby and passion gradually transforming into a business and career. Prior to Kaza’s launch in March of 2015, Marcus spent years honing his skills as a framer and homebuilder along with stints building furniture. Alongside these experiences, Marcus cultivated his passion for woodworking as a hobbyist, building simple items like coat racks and other small pieces of furniture.
Kaza continued to take shape when Marcus and his wife Majda moved into their Stoney Creek home in 2014. In trying to create the coziness and character they wanted for their new home, while also realizing that purchasing furniture wouldn’t necessarily allow them to bring their personalities and taste to the space, Marcus decided to build his own. In his makeshift shop in the laundry room, Kaza was technically originated.
Marcus brings this experience to his business by emphasizing engagement with the customer and understanding their desires and sensibilities, both in terms of aesthetics and how they want a piece to fill a space. Many of the pieces Marcus builds are, in a sense, collaborations with the customer.
The growth of Kaza, according to Marcus, has had a lot to do with timing. In the past few years, he says, customers have become more conscious of their impact on the environment and that of the products they purchase. Customers have also placed more emphasis on shopping local.
As a builder working with sustainably sourced wood, Kaza has seized the opportunity to fill that niche. Marcus admits that there is an ongoing challenge to engage with his customers and to demonstrate his commitment to the environment. Having the backing of the Ontario Wood name and logo certainly helps, as it provides a stamp on products that indicates both their sourcing of sustainable material as well being local.
Wood offers an opportunity to create wonderful and useful products and has been used to do so throughout and even before recorded history. As a creator, Marcus appreciates Ontario Wood’s efforts to promote key values such as building from your own backyard while respecting the need to ensure that our forests thrive for future generations. By promoting the artisans building with reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood, Ontario Wood’s message to consumers is that we can build products from wood while maintaining the integrity of our forests. These are the values that Marcus is proud to represent as an Ontario Wood partner.
For aspiring woodworkers, Marcus emphasizes that it’s ultimately like any other art form. Improvement comes through patience and making lots of mistakes. Like other art forms, the fringe benefits like better mental health and the satisfaction of creating something should be embraced. Finally, as the son of a sculptor, Marcus urges all artists to avoid taking themselves too seriously and to keep their personality in their work.