The Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest called Western Red Cedars “trees of life” or “life giver” – a cornerstone to their way of life. Groves were often seen as sacred and used as gathering places for ceremonies and the trees themselves can live for thousands of years. In fact, cedars that have fallen down will take centuries to finally succumb to rot and the elements.
Many coastal tribes recognized the durability of the wood and used Western Red Cedars to build shelters, dugout canoes, and myriad tools, utensils, and accessories.
This legacy of providing shelter has endured in how people use Western Red Cedar today. It’s an excellent option for exterior applications like siding, decking, and other outdoor projects due to its natural resistance to rot and insects. Wood is a living material and continues to expand and contract after it has been harvested, and Western Red Cedar does this on a much smaller scale, making this species very stable.
Haywire Building, Plano, TX
A wonderful example of this flexible wood species is TerraMai’s installation at Haywire in Plano, TX, featuring beautiful Western Red Cedar wood paneling. There’s inherent natural beauty to wood known as a “tree of life” gracing the sides of a building dedicated to bringing joy to the lives of others through good food, good drinks, and good times.
When it comes to legacy, what we can learn from Western Red Cedar is how there is strength in versatility and creating a safe haven for others.
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