Art + Engineering

"Butterfly Love" -- Maui, Hawaii


Commissioned by: Rena and Jon Biel

Designed and Fabricated by Nick Fournier

Immediately upon meeting Rena and Jon they gave me a tour of their gorgeous property on Maui's North Shore.  Their view was stunning but their garden and ornamental plants struck me the most.  As we walked around looking at all the plants we noticed something had been eating part of the garden.  What appeared to me as a nuisance was quickly turned into beauty as Jon informed me that it was the caterpillars that were eating the leaves and that those caterpillars would turn into the butterflies that were flying around us.  It was a fun lesson to ponder and I thought about the caterpillar's transformation a lot over the weeks to come.    

As I was slowly turning the raw slices of a tree into functional art I kept coming back to the butterfly.  Rena wanted curves, curves, and more curves so I as I was designing the legs they sort of took the shape of a butterfly.  Then to make them more stout I articulated them like wings.  Later, when the top pieces went together they revealed a beautiful heart that was completely unplanned.  Next came an inlayed butterfly floating just above the heart.  Only upon delivering the table did I find out the deep symbolism butterflies have in Rena's life.