The Elm of Amsterdam, Beursplein 5
A pulpit in three sections, a table and a thousend elm coins from a single tree 130 years old
At the beginning of 2019, Simon Lelieveldt approached me to ask whether I had ever processed an entire tree.
Simon runs guided tours round the financial district in Amsterdam, starting at Beursplein 5. Until quite recently, a mighty 130-year-old elmstood there. It had 'NOW' tagged on it in yellow paint from the days of Occupy Now. 'Who can point out 3 signs of the anti-capitalism movement?' Simon used to ask his tour groups as they entered the square. But one day his tree was gone. Chopped down to make room for bicycle parking beneath the square. Apparently, its roots were in the way. In partnership with Stadshout Amsterdam and woodworking-buddy Walter Vree, we cut the tree into planks using rip saws, then taken away to dry for a few months at the wood curers in Utrecht.
Walter and I made 2000 wooden “coins” for Simon -of which 1000 were actually minted by Ron Peperkamp in an alod mint press. The seed pods of the elm tree are called 'elm coins' in Dutch; when they fall from the tree in spring, they resemble coins. Simon commissioned me to make a Tsugi pulpit and a large Tsugi table.
An honour to work with: such an old tree, right from the heart of Amsterdam, having silently witnessed all and everything in its surroundings, even from before World War II.