13 October 2021

Natalia Kita

It’s not every day that a journeyman’s masterpiece by a newly graduated cabinet maker finds a buyer. That they are also willing to pay without haggling or hesitation for 270 hours of hard work in the joinery is definitely exceptional.

But it happened last summer and Natalia Kita will soon have a large sum in her account.

“It’s really fun”, says Natalia on the phone from the village Fiskars in Finland where she works as a cabinet maker at Nikari. I’m especially happy that the buyer owns an art gallery in Berlin, and I hope my work will be part of his collection and eventually be shown to the public.

Natalia’s journeyman’s masterpiece, which was shown last summer at the exhibition Wood Art in Bodafors, consists of a small console table and corresponding wall cabinet. The latter with blackbird marquetry, a graphically lively picture based on a painting by her sister, artist Izabela Kita.

Blackbirds’ Concert is the name of the journeyman’s piece and some have guessed that inspiration came from a well-known Beatles song.

“That’s a good story but not at all true”, Natalia laughs. “The painting was the origin linked to a desire to, from a distance, create something together with my sister who has always been my inspiration. We both love the blackbird motif, which has associations to our childhood home. The idea I had with the table was that it should accommodate a new vinyl player. There is space in the drawer for a few LPs and when you open the door of the cabinet, you can display the cool record sleeve.”

A personal pair of furniture pieces paying homage to craftsmanship, music, art and nature. And which will hopefully soon be on display in a setting of contemporary art in Berlin. For her journeyman’s masterwork, Natalia received a scholarship from the Siv and Carl Malmsten Memorial Foundation.

I ask if she found it difficult to part with the furniture?

”I may miss it in a few years’ time, but at the moment I’m just glad that my work is appreciated by someone else. It’s also furniture that needs space to fulfil its practical and aesthetic function, and I move often between small apartments.”

For her thesis at Malmstens, Natalia investigated the opacity of different types of wood, and whether it is possible to attach marquetry to soft materials such as paper or textile.

Her exam piece ”Traditional craft in a new light – A study of illuminated marquetry” also includes two lamps. Natalia was able to pursue her fascination and interest in illuminated marquetry during last summer’s stay in Bodafors. For a month, she was responsible for the Lehmann workshop where she received visitors and talked about the art of cutting marquetry while at the same time developing her own project.

Natalia Kita was born and grew up in southern Poland. She studied to become a landscape architect, but soon discovered that the job entailed a lot of time in front of the computer and that she would rather do something more practical where her hands could feel and shape the material. And why not wood? Her journey to Sweden and cabinet making started at Tibro Crafts Academy in 2017. After that she studied at Malmstens for three years and now, a year or more at Nikari.

”At the moment, I’m advancing my knowledge in cabinetwork here but in the future, I want to move towards artisanry and marquetry. My dream is to have my own workshop where I can make unique pieces and other items in wood as well as carry on experimenting with veneer and marquetry.

Text: Dan Gordan