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My pieces start with a block of wood, or a log, and an idea. The basic shape I want to create is formed by turning the wood on a lathe, carving away the wood until the external form is created. The form is then hollowed out with special tools that allow the unwanted wood to be slowly and methodically removed from the center of the form. The end result of this stage of the process is a vessel or bowl form.
After the basic vessel form is created, I have a blank three dimensional canvas that I can start transforming. Natural patterns and rhythms act as inspiration for the textures I carve into the external surface of my vessels. Wood carving tools, good light, and lots of patience are essential ingredients for this part of the process. Many of my first attempts at transforming wood turned forms ended up in my fireplace - a lot still do, it's my Quality Control Department!
The application of a bit of controlled heat adds subtleties to the textures I create. These changes in texture, light indentations, the softness or sharpness of edges, and the degree of smoothness or roughness in the carved out areas, affect how the layers of paint interact with the surface of the vessel and how light moves across the form of the vessel.
After I have textured a vessel, I apply layers of color to further evolve the unique presence of the form. I start with a layer of black india ink which soaks into the form. Then acrylic paint is applied to bring the textures to life. There are many layers, up to 20, of carefully applied paint. The layers are thin, and the colors play off each other, accentuating the look and the feel of the carved wood.
The final result is a form that has the warmth and touch-ability of wood, and the visual punch of a finely executed painting. These vessels are the result of a journey. Each is a unique accumulation of gouges, nicks and strokes particular to the piece of raw wood that I started with. No two finished pieces are identical, and each piece has the mark of distinction that occurs when time and concentration, respect for the material, and many techniques, come together to turn nature into art.