Rod Townsend

DesMoines, IA


Xylem Vessels are unique craft pieces constructed from exotic wood veneers finished in natural colors or enhanced with colorful wood dyes. They are designed as ornaments, but look great with dried flowers and, since they are waterproof, can even be used to display fresh cut flowers.

As a biologist, I have always been fascinated by the diversity of shapes and colors to be found in the natural world. I find inspiration in huge tropical leaves, brilliantly colored flowers, strange shaped seed pods, seashells, and even ripples in the sand. Xylem Vessels are my attempt to capture a little of that diversity and beauty in simple, yet elegant wooden forms. Each design is unique and copyrighted.

Xylem Vessels draw heavily on my experience as an amateur furniture maker. It has taken many experiments and modifications to perfect the technique for making these vessels to the point where I am satisfied with the quality of the finished pieces. Furthermore, working with veneers rather than solid wood offers a more sustainable way to enjoy the beauty of domestic and tropical hardwoods. The most complicated Xylem Vessels are made from multiple pieces of interlocking and individually stained pieces of veneer.

Why Xylem Vessels? The Xylem Vessels are the elongated cells that transport water from the roots of the very tops of tall trees. It just seemed such a fitting name. I hope you enjoy owning a Xylem Vessel as much as I enjoyed designing and making it.