I am a traditional wood carver with a strong background in design and painting. I have over fifteen years of carving experience in addition to the decades I have worked as a designer and illustrator. It wasn’t until I began exploring the creative work of wood carving that I realized how much of my earlier two-dimensional work had been conceptualized in my mind in relief. The years I have spent designing, drawing, and painting on paper have provided a careful preparation for working in wood. There has been a natural cooperation between these two mediums in my creative process, with each supporting the other in interesting and inspiring ways.
My wood carving process primarily involves working with traditional hand tools; my use of power tools is minimal. I use a band saw or router to cut the initial shape of the wood but all of the carving work is completed using hand tools. This method creates a carving that is finished from the tool, without any sanding, leaving a subtle rippled texture on the surface. I prefer this quiet, unplugged method of wood working, creating a finished piece that reflects the time and contemplation invested in creating it.
My creative work is primarily influenced by history – early medieval Irish manuscripts, the Stave Churches of Norway, Viking art, Renaissance geometry, alchemical engravings, and particularly how nature is represented in these historic styles. The animals native to my home in New Hampshire often find their way into my work. I look backward to find symbols and myths – essential elements from our collected human psyche – to employ as filters for my own personal experiences. I have also developed an invented runic alphabet to use as a way to add the texture of language and hidden meaning to my work.
Currently my wood carving work incorporates concepts of guardians, talismans, shields and vessels as forms to explore my inner concerns. I use traditional craft methods and historical themes in my work, but I approach this process with my own contemporary vision. Rather than reproducing traditional wood carving designs that have been used for centuries in architecture and furniture, I look to history for the context to create carvings that reflect personal ideas and emotional processes. I believe this is how traditions are kept alive; by taking the old ways and filling them with our own lives. In this way the tradition remains but it is carried forward through my personal expression of it.
Read about some of my past projects and exhibits HERE.
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