It's all about the grain.
Whether it be a sharp angled cabinet, a smooth lathe turned mushroom, or an elongated carved bowl, as I work with a piece and the lines begin to emerge and the grain begins to come into focus, an emotion of joy arises within me touching my heart and soul. When the lines are balanced, the transitions are true, and the grain is screaming to be noticed, I can't help but feel as if I am exposing and sharing a tiny part of the true nature of the universe. A life spent creating works of art, feeling the joy of balance and peace, utilizing materials having spent their lives giving us life, and are now being given a 2nd life, while giving joy and pleasure to our fellow travelers, and a physical piece of their homestead, is a life well spent.
I have worked with wood since I was a young boy, and now I am a retired carpenter, remodeler, and builder. As a wood artisan, I have created thousands of pieces from the practical to the whimsical. It is freeing as an artisan to be able to create functional art or pure art without promise of either. It gives me the opportunity to explore wood and what it can become in the end.
Beginning as a nut, falling to the ground, it takes root, and begins to grow.The growth process does not occur in a vacuum. It is banged, twisted, and blown. Limbs grow, and are torn off; freezes, droughts, and hot summer days; insects invading its bark; animals building homes with and in its branches and leaves. All of the dramatic and mundane make their mark in the wood of the tree. A tree grows by covering its previous layer with a new layer, allowing the history of the old layer to be retained. Retained until the history is exposed, as the wood is shaped and formed into a 2nd life.
As the 2nd life of wood begins to emerge through sawing, chiseling, carving, and sanding, so called flaws are exposed. These are actually "badges of life". A large part of the excitement working wood is the anticipation of these badges suddenly, but not unexpectedly, showing themselves. An experienced artisan knows how to incorporate and reinforce these badges so they add to, and work throughout the piece's 2nd life. After all, not one of us will reach the end of our lives without at least a few these "badges of life".
All of the wood I use in my artisan projects (carvings, turnings, and sculptures, etc.) come from woods harvested within the bounds of the Highlands in Louisville, KY. Each piece is marked with the name of the street on which it lived. Each piece is dated with the month it was harvested. The trees I use have been harvested to strengthen our ecosystem. There life has been lived to their fullest. So, if you have a piece of my work, you will always have a piece of the Highlands.
Keeping the trees ecosystem strong is vital to our own survival. They hold soil in place, and create mini-eco systems for the small animals. They give us life, beauty, and shade. You can support Louisville, KY trees by becoming an Olmstead Nut which supports the Olmstead Park System.
Thank You.Dickie Wilson
Louisville Artisan Guild - Juried Member