I make bowls that will never hold popcorn, Teapots that would not hold water, and containers that will never contain anything but air. As a craft artist my intention has always been to make a functional object, something useful that a person would interact with rather than just look at. As a Fine Art sculptor, my concerns are more aesthetic with less concern if it actually performs a function. In between these two influences I have created a body of work that, while starting out with the appearance of functional objects, are in reality intended to intrigue the mind and enchant the eye.
The Mobiles that I make might be one possible exception to this in that their purpose is to fill a space with form, color, and movement, and that function they serve fully well. For over thirty years I have been incorporating mobiles into my wood sculpture works. These mobiles were generally very small as they often “flew” within my sculptures, adding an aspect of movement inside the form. A small flock of crows, a school of fish, or leaves falling from a tree, these mini- mobiles also brought an element of narrative to the piece.
Over the past number of years these mobiles have grown in size and complexity to where they have become ever-moving and interacting shapes that have burst out to fill a much larger space. Stars, planets, and other astronomical objects floating in space, or flocks of Sandhill Cranes spiraling up to glide off are two of my favorite themes, along with my Underwater series where various aquatic plants and animals swim in ever-changing patterns.
My sculptures are made from various hardwoods that have been turned, cut and carved, inlaid or laminated to achieve the desired effect. Different colors and textures are achieved by using different types of wood, most often native hardwoods. Finally a coating of Tung oil varnish is applied to protect the wood.
That my medium of expression turned out to be wood, seems to have been almost pre-ordained. My relationship with trees has been a life-long passion, along with my preference for all things natural. Through my work I have found a way to express and examine the things that fascinate me most. Many of my works are small dioramas where the mind can go exploring. The element of Discovery is also important in my work, and I would be disappointed in any of my pieces that didn’t have some sort of surprise or twist to it.
After 34 years as a professional artist I can still say that I’m never completely sure what I’m going to make next, but that I still manage to amaze myself from time to time.