Bamboo as the problem, and the solution
In much of the United States bamboo has become quite a nuisance, spreading out beyond the suburban gardens it was planted in. In some cases it has taken over entire neighborhoods, dominating the ecosystem. Oddly enough, despite its abundance in many areas, and its proven usefulness as a building it is often left untouched.
Encountering many stands of bamboo in my own neighborhood I wanted to explore its useful properties while also culling the expanding groves. A quick search online will find many projects that utilize bamboo as a craft material but many of them use trivial amounts of plant material doing little to slow its spread. It then occurred to me to use it as a furniture material, but with no ready means of joining the pieces other than binding them with rope, I thought to capture them in a frame of oak. The design I came up with took advantage of the great strength of bamboo as the weight bearing material of the seat, while using oak to form the structure.
After several months of living with this piece I am very pleased with the final outcome of the bench. It has clean lines, utilized a considerable amount of bamboo (visibly thinning the patch it came from), and is a strong, comfortable seat for two. The other aspect I've grown to appreciate is the sense of yin and yang between the native wood material and the invasive bamboo, as well as between the bamboo and the stark contrast created by the black milk paint.