Green wood turned on the lathe, sandblasted and scorched madrone burl
I feel very lucky to be able to do the work I do and to be able to make a living at it. My work enables me to connect with people in unexpected ways. In this technological age, I find that people are responding to objects that are gentle, and that carry a human touch and sensitivity. I often notice peoples' reaction to my objects transcends mere skill and material and connects to the spirit and heart of the maker, a wordless connection that speaks a language that all of us can understand.
The material I use, pacific madrone burl, changes as it dries, forcing me to step back from my work and relinquish control for a short time while letting the wood find it's own shape. Madrone burl, which grows along the northwest coast of the United States, is the wildest of all the woods I know. Not only does it have a wide range of color and texture, it resists all attempts to dry evenly. Instead it warps or cracks strongly and gets very hard when it dries. In my current work of baskets, gourds and similar forms, I turn it while it is still green, while it is a pleasure to cut and handle. I make use of the warping as the wood dries to create attitude, gesture, and, when grouping these shapes together, relationships. The soft surface texture is a direct result of the cutting edge of my tools and light sandblasting. Most openings are slightly burnt for contrast and to enhance their looseness. When the wood is very thin, these vessels don't crack, but when the wood is left thick, the cracking can make a very dramatic effect as well. Sometimes I use a wood bleaching process to lighten the wood or remove all its color. Occasionally, I use linen thread and telegraph wire to connect elements.
My objects are an attempt to tell stories. They give glimpses of possibilities or act as metaphors serving as a transport for ideas and things alike. A little fantastic, a little odd. Some are solely because they were a lot of fun to make. They are highly unlikely with a life of their own.