I absolutely love working with beautiful wood to create one-of-a kind pieces of distinctive artwork and the ultimate joy I experience is sharing my artwork with others for them to enjoy.
Only within the last 4 years have I become confident enough to try turning something more than utilitarian objects. As my competency grew I discovered that I had a hidden artistic streak. Each piece is turned on my lathe, using the grain of the wood and its character traits as guides. I start with a good idea about what I want to create, but often that idea changes and expands as the piece gradually forms on the lathe and new ideas come to mind as I see the piece develop. Sometimes as I cut deep into the wood I see imperfections or unusual features emerge that indicate a change is needed to take advantage of that feature to enhance the piece.
When I started working with wood, I looked for “perfect specimens” thinking that only unblemished grain and consistent color could result in a “perfect” end product. But I quickly realized that some flaws could become a distinctive and beautiful feature of the product and rather that detracting, these flaws could actually enhance the finished piece.
As a novice, I believed that only stains and varnishes were acceptable wood finishes. Then I used a dye on a small part of one piece (green on the tips of a leaf) and realized that it made the entire piece stunning art. So I started experimenting with more color, color combinations, air brush effects… always trying to retain the distinctive wood grains that give wood its comfortable warmth.
My focus has moved away from oiled natural wood and toward adding color, applying a sprayed lacquer finish or even adding a secondary wood. I sometimes embellish the pieces with piercing, mineral inlay, metal inlay, various dyes, textures, air brushing etc. On most pieces I will bend a stem, a petal here or a leaf there which is a pleasant surprise to those who notice them.
I constantly look for downed trees and logs. Nearly all of the wood I use comes from trees that have been felled due to disease, storms or development and ultimately to be hauled to a landfill or burned. Wood is made into a myriad of things. Some are utilitarian, some decorative and some are certainly artistic. I enjoy the challenge that this craft provides, because for me it includes both a technical process and an artistic element.
Most of my pieces are initially turned on the lathe, from fresh, green logs. Each piece is then hand carved and/or textured and enhanced with color. Carving and texturing are very labor intensive and can take from several days to weeks to complete. There is little room for error and one small slip can ruin the piece.
I am willing to experiment, willing to make changes on the fly, and willing to undo and redo as many times as it takes to create a satisfying piece. Have you ever watched how someone holds a beautifully made wooden object? They hold it with reverence, knowing it is a unique piece.
Again… I absolutely love working with beautiful wood to create one-of-a kind pieces of distinctive artwork and the ultimate joy I experience is sharing my work with others for them to enjoy.