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Sauna Talk: Travis Skinner reminds us that sauna building can be art

light steam graphic

We are pleased to welcome Travis Skinner to Sauna Talk!

We’ve been following Travis’ work since 2017, starting with his Snail Shell sauna project. This sauna build project is a creative nod to the Fibonacci Sequence, one of the most famous formulas in mathematics. In this episode you’ll hear from Travis about the origins of this sauna, using a yurt frame as a foundation for building this sauna.

And let’s not forget the Steam Roller sauna. Here is a link that describes and illustrates the Steam Roller sauna build project. A really unique shape. A canted wall that helps draw and roll the steam in the hot room.

Then, it’s on to the Angler Fish sauna project. We wrote this sauna build project in 2018.

And now we get to hear from the creator, designer and builder: Travis Skinner.

We’ll learn about the “stacking function of sauna.” Where sauna can be multi function, multi purpose.

Travis Skinner and Glenn Sauna Talking

Travis has a key interest in collaboration. Coming together with other artisans to craft as much as possible with their hands.

“Working with hand tools allow us to feel the materials we work with” explains Travis.

On a side note, my interview with Travis reminded me of some of the most resonating aspects to sauna design and building. The right brain conceptualizing. Travis stays far away from what could be called “tradesmen dogma”. There is no “you should do this” or “don’t do that” with Travis and sauna building. Rules, rigidity, and fear are not a part of Travis’ mindset.

Travis’ approach was so timely and refreshing to me. As I look to help others with their own sauna building projects, many are easy tripped up and entangled with fear based push backs from tradesmen: thermal bridging, moisture trapping, off gassing and other terms hidden as “advice”. You’d like to think that professional builders are really out to help people, but often they appear to want to pound their chests to the casual amateur sauna builder. Is it fear, insecurity, stubbornness? Who knows, but what we do know is that Travis exudes none of this.

Travis is an artist in all the best sense of the word. He is as happy working with metal as he is with wood. He respects the origins of his material and is hyper conscious throughout his entire plan and build process.

We catch up with Travis outside of his tiny house in Bellingham Bay, close to Canada in Washington State.

Please welcome to my inspiring Sauna Talk interview with Travis Skinner!

Travis Skinner’s Anglerfish sauna
Anglerfish sauna interior
Anglerfish glass eye
snail shell sauna completed
Framing up the Snail Shell Sauna

To keep up with Travis and his creations, please visit him at Instagram @pairoducks

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3 thoughts on “Sauna Talk: Travis Skinner reminds us that sauna building can be art”

  1. Good to hear you’ve got the fix, Steven.

    I’m not a thermal engineer, and my wife ‘resisted’ when I suggested getting this tatoo’ed on my forehead:

    “Metals and stone are considered good conductors since they can speedily transfer heat, whereas materials like wood, paper, air, and cloth are poor conductors of heat. … Materials that are poor conductors of heat are called insulators.”

  2. Great interview- as an artist/builder/nature lover, it’s always inspiring to hear other peoples thought process on not only what they did, but why and how…excellent and inspiring. Carry on the great stuff you bring and thanks so much for sharing

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