About two-thirds of Japan is covered completely with trees, with around 40% being artificially planted after the war. To maintain the forest’s health, trees must be routinely harvested and replanted, however declining import costs have resulted in little incentive to use the country’s wood, meaning forests are left unharvested and unmaintained, increasing the risk of disasters such as landslides.
In response, we wanted to create a unique and scalable use for wood that can not only motivate the country to upkeep and sustain the forests, but also inspire a new appreciation of the trees to future generations. The result is Forest Crayons: an innovative use for wood that transforms Japanese trees into a beautiful palette of naturally coloured crayons.
While the colour of wood is often thought of as simply ‘brown’, Forest Crayons reveals the vast spectrum of hues that exist in the forest. From the light green of magnolia, to the deep turquoise of fungus stained wood, each crayon exhibits a distinct colour determined not only by the species of tree but also the conditions in which it is grown. No matter what its shape, composition or defect, any piece of wood from the lumber yard can be transformed into a crayon, embracing the natural inconsistencies of the material to make each set of Forest Crayons truly unique.
Developed as part of a program supported by the Japanese Forestry Agency, we are now looking to bring Forest Crayons to market in hopes to not only breathe new life into Japanese wood, but also ignite a new appreciation for the country’s forests like never before.