Ash Out of Quarantine




City of Toronto
Initiated and produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.


Ash Out of Quarantine

Toronto is in the midst of a foreign invasion. Close to a million ash trees will fall over the next five years due to this invader. A stowaway of globalization, the emerald ash borer beetle traveled to North America in a shipping container over a decade ago and has since left a path of destruction across numerous states and provinces. With little that can be done to stem the inevitable elimination of every ash tree, focus must be put on what to do with the carnage. Brothers Dressler are embarking on a journey to bring the potential of ash to the public eye. We are focusing much of our new work on bringing Ash out of Quarantine

Tumbling Ash is a first step to promote the use of this material and its properties.  A cascade of branching limbs tumble down the wall cradling budding fruit of hand-blown globes softly lit with LEDs. Using our branches system comprised of steam bent wood components with nodal connections as a starting point this piece is meant to evoke thought about material use and an awareness of resource life cycles. Mixed with the ash parts are some elm from a Toronto tree lost to Dutch Elm disease and walnut sap wood which is usually discarded in the milling process. This modular system of assembled parts can continually evolve and expand as will our awareness of the materials and resources that surround us and their limited nature.

Through our continued exploration and experimentation with ash wood a pattern of growth has emerged. The small sapling is expanding. Its sprawling branches sprouting new buds of glowing light. This wall lighting system is part of our Ash Out of Quarantine project which seeks to bring to light the devastating effect an invasive species will have as Toronto loses nearly a million ash trees to the imported emerald ash borer beetle. Fragments of our city's missing canopy will be salvaged to create different ideas and objects to inspire creativity and awareness.

Ash Out of Quarantine is an ongoing project, we are speaking with members of Economic Development with the City of Toronto about the future potential of these trees and others at risk.

Read more on LEAF, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest.

Tumbling Ash - New Growth was on display at ARTiculations earlier this year and a sample piece also graced the window of The Beau & Bauble, both in the Junction. Big thanks to DesignLines for the Love tag. 


The City of Toronto, IIDEX Canada and Ideacious have teamed up to bring you IIDEX Woodshop: 15 innovative wood prototypes that utilize Toronto’s unexpected ash resource. The feature exhibition at IIDEX Canada Sept 26 + 27, 2013 will include work from 10 established Toronto designers including Brothers Dressler and 5 additional designs selected by jury.

Globalization and climate change have brought pests like the Emerald Ash Borer to North America where they are feasting on our forests. In Toronto alone, the Borer will bring down nearly all of its 860,000 ash trees in the next 5 years, with several times more in the surrounding areas. Building on research conducted by the City of Toronto and Brothers Dressler the IIDEX Woodshop aims to reduce the number of ash trees headed for the landfill by creating innovative, market-ready commercial and consumer prototypes.

We're proud to know our Ash Out of Quarantine project was part of the inspiration for this initiative and look forward to the ideas that will come from it. We will be contributing a new addition from our seating collection. There will also be a special edition Ash branches on display at the Amala Carpets booth at IIDEX promoting their Zee Silk collection.

Our ash project also continues into the Junction's wine bar Bricco.


We introduced the Elbow "Ollie" lounge and work chair made with Toronto ash wood as part of our Ash Out of Quarantine initiative at the 2013 IIDEX Woodshop. Ash, flexible and strong, bent into a lounge chair with task features for reclined creativity, bringing to light the useful properties of trees affected by the emerald ash borer infestation. The Branches chandelier pictured above has also been made with local ash.