the Art of Wood
I was born in Chicago, four miles northwest of Wrigley Field and I am still a Cubs fan - went to the World Series in 2016. (I wrote the date since I believe there will be many more years for them.) After college, I lived on a commune in Champaign, IL then moved to a commune on 165 acres in Waynesboro, TN. Did 3 years there then moved to Olympia, WA where I had a family. Moved to Minneapolis in 2006 where I now live. I began making furniture in 1973. In 1996, I began developing a technique I call, Curved Joinery. Since then I've developed several other new techniques all of which I use in my art. I am fortunate to have sold over 200 pieces in the past four years including one in the Mayo Clinic.
I work with wood like a painter works with oils, creating images of lines, shapes and the natural colors of wood. The images are clear, bright and challenging but I add another dimension, depth. Once the image is complete, I carve it to create a sculpture which enhances the image and creates a story that must be studied to fully appreciate.
I present my art in the way nature offers itself. We look but we rarely see what surrounds us. Our brains simplify objects into symbols which our brains can categorize and dismiss because we see too much and it is easier to make assumptions about things than to study them. If we are to see what is actually in front of us, we cannot not glance and move on. We have to stop, pay attention and search for the truth of the object. Imagine walking through a field of grass. At a glance, it looks like any field we’ve seen before. But study it and details appear that are unique to it. There might be tiny flowers between the weeds or a bush in the distance. There are certainly small animals, insects and birds. What variations of color are there? The longer you look, the more you see.
I want people to see what is in front of them. Every piece of my art has its own character. Like two people who seem to be alike, each of my pieces has aspects which take time to get to know. I want people to stop and see things for what they really are.
My art makes a strong first impression. I want people to see more.
× From a distance, lines, shapes and colors lead you around the surface while deep carvings and the shadows they create enhance the image.
× During the day, the shadows are modest, but at night, with lights set at a low angle across the surface, they become dramatic.
× As you approach the piece, the grain of the wood and the shadows in shallow contours become apparent and further enhance the image.
× Up close, you can and should run your fingers across the wood to feel the undulating surface and its smooth flowing shapes and realize there are changes in the surface you didn’t notice.
I create my art using techniques I began developing in 1996:
- joining boards along curves,
- inserting solid wood strips into curved cuts,
- embedding wood strips in circular cuts,
- and inserting pegs in intricate designs.
This is not marquetry, intarsia or inlay. Every element is solid wood glued together to make a panel. When the carving is complete, I sand and finish it in the same manner as fine furniture giving it a highly finished appearance and a highly durable surface which will retain that appearance even with constant touching by people, just like a piece of furniture.
I get lost in the wood and the tools, the shapes and the colors. I lose track of time and am often late for dinner. At the center of the longest wall in my shop is a two-foot wide clock and if I notice it, I am pulled back to the needs of time.