All the ITErs were asked to write artist statements for the exhibition. I have asked for copies of everyone’s statements from the Wood Turning Center and will post them as soon as I get them. In the meantime, here is mine, expanded from a previous statement, published on my website:
Simple and sensual, my work is about form and substance, containment and expression, the interplay between lift and mass.
As an art medium, wood is unique in that it once lived, and lived long, rooted in the earth, formed as much by the tree’s own life force as by the external forces acting upon it. Wood can be treated as an inert material; it can be cut, carved, colored, bent, planed, pulped; like any other medium, an artist can impose on it whatever form and texture its physical nature will allow. But like a human face, its deepest beauty lies in its record of survival, in its singularity of being, and if an artist chooses to address that aspect of its nature, then the treeness of the wood, that original life energy, can live on in the made object. This is what I try to achieve in turning—to approach the wood as one vessel of energy to another and to make of that interaction a literal vessel.
The quality that I strive to achieve in each turning is presence.
I believe that an object made so, with reverence for its source, retains the spark of that source. Such objects when held or beheld can remind us of our connection to the numinous and the material, the spirit and the earth, a healing connection that grounds us and elevates us and restores us to the whole.
For me, the ITE has been precisely about healing, about transforming brokenness, integrating it into the beauty of the whole. In the work I have produced here, this has involved playing with brokenness in many forms: sometimes deliberately breaking the surface or the wall of a vessel, sometimes working with an existing break, sometimes responding to an accidental break. In various pieces, I have used the brokenness as a feature, exaggerated a break, excised breaks, mended breaks. In the process of this work, I have been transformed by the ITE, both artistically and personally, and I expect the exploration I have begun here to continue for a long time to come.