Inspiration and Instinct
In February or March of 2007 White Moose® was little more than an idea. I was gathering friends and fellow-designers together, trying to compile a team to produce a line of contemporary Canadian furniture and accessories. The inspiration was based on my formative years, spent in the quiet North of Alberta. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a live white moose.
One incident in particular really captivated my young imagination. I had gone hunting with my uncle, and being at the end of a road, he left me in the truck with my brother and two cousins, while he went down a cutline to try and call a moose in. It was snowing like crazy. While he was gone, a local man who was also hunting, appeared through the snow and came up to our vehicle. Recognizing us, he stopped and talked for a bit, asking if we’d seen any moose. We told him we hadn’t. He said about a half hour prior, he had come across a white moose in the bush, but was unable to chase it because of all the snow. After he left, we just laughed, thinking he was probably crazy, senile and had hallucinated due to all the blowing snow. Because we were so young, we didn’t know that albino moose were a real thing.
The first white moose I ever saw was in the Battle River Museum, in my home town when I was about nine years old. It was a full-body mount, donated by Larry Stone. Having grown up in moose country, I was used to seeing these massive, dark creatures. But change one thing, like the colour of their hair, and they become absolutely mystical. That was part of the inspiration for this line of furniture. I wanted to create furniture that people could relate to, but that surprised and intrigued them.
Back to 2007 - it was nearly June and I didn’t have any solid designs. I hired 3 of the best designers I knew, and we got to work. Our deadline was to be in Las Vegas on July 26th with prototypes of something that only existed in my head. I relied heavily on these designers, and my Sister, who was our intern (there were a LOT of other people who helped out, and I am grateful to them all for their contributions). I also relied heavily on instinct, and my mind fell back to 18 or 20 years spent on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The patterns and changes in the landscape, shapes and textures of elements found in nature, and the innate desire to do something great.
I found inspiration in the shape of a moose thigh (thus the Hi-Thi table), and had a vision of a digital spruce grove, reminiscent of the group of seven, which Joel Harding mastered perfectly (Spruce Stand room divider). Mark Oswald transformed the shape of a ‘60s space heater into a lively occasional chair (K.C., apparently a tip to the Knights of Columbus). Joanna Goszczynski designed half of the White Moose® line, and followed a few cues from leaves, and parks, and sprouting trees, making some remarkable pieces.
I’ve never had such a large project come together so seamlessly. I truly feel as though we had some divine help, and am grateful for what came out of it. Five years later, I’m still blown away.