Wood is elementary and essential, both as material and as a symbol. Throughout the history of civilization, it has been treated without a negative trait, as something noble and holy, intricately linked to mankind and its activities. Manifold meanings ascribed to wood, in different times and different nations, carry both material and symbolic value.
Our culture has a close relationship with wood. In Slavic mythology, Perun is the supreme deity, whose name originally meant “the oak”, which is also a form of his appearance. The importance of this relationship, which is based on symbolism, extends through the entire cultural history and the pagan worship of the oak is subtly incorporated into Christianity through the use of its branches in the biggest Christian holiday – Christmas. This is not only a Slavic custom, it is attributed to other European nations as well, and in most cultures the world has been depicted as a tree.
Acorn can be seen as a picture of the microcosm, a reduced epitome of the positive principle according to which the world functions. The growth of a tree is a paradigm of creation, and our activity in shaping the wood is our part in shaping the world.
In order to create something, both nature and the man need time. While the tree at its core has a timer in the form of growth rings, the man imprints time into wood by using it. In time, the wooden piece suffers aesthetic change, changes its colour and shape to an extent, and as it gets older, it gains value. Old items are the bearers of time, which includes our presence, habits and experience. To us, a piece of wood that we inherited has sentimental value which exceeds its aesthetic value. The same goes for the piece we leave as a legacy because it functions as a link between past and future.
The impact of each individual tree, in a complex system such as a forest, is reflected on the impact that a forest has on its surroundings. Such a principle, of interaction and coexistence, is transmitted to man’s created world in which the shaping of wood plays an important role. Whether it is the functional use of wood through the creation of an object for use or the shaping aimed at aesthetic enjoyment, the specific relationship we create with pieces made of wood can be read as a replica of the complex forest system.
Awareness of the importance of each individual tree and the complex forest systems implies a relationship of sustainable exploitation. In this regard, the entire twentieth century was marked by reforestation worldwide. In our country after World War II, in a wave of renewal and modernization of Europe, a youth environmental movement Mladi gorani was founded which dealt exclusively with reforestation.
The specific relationship that we have towards wood is conditioned by the fact that we are both symbolically and physically surrounded by trees. We come from a place called Šumadija, whose name is directly derived from the word forest. It gives us a legitimacy which rests on a subjective belief that wood is deeply rooted in our mentality. We respect wood, we understand it, we love it.
The modern age is marked by the use of artificial and hi-tech materials; therefore, each piece of wood we keep close to us represents a link to nature, to both our ancestors and descendants.