Client: Private Commmission
Location: Tucson, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2008
Artwork budget: $18,000
Sweet Medicine Studio
Tool and Die
This ensemble is a collection of four commissioned sculptures.
1. Title: Woman Washing her Hair
Dimensions: 30″w x 48″t x 15″d
2. Title: Monona Bear
Media: White Oak
Dimensions: 15″w x 60″h x 15″d
3. Title: Whirlwind Dreamer
Media: Basswood, white pine, butternut and red oak
Dimensions: 40″w x 60″h x 10″d
4. Title: Hand With Feather
Media: English linden
Dimensions: 15″w x 85″h x 12″d
Carving wood sculpture reflects my admiration and respect for the beauty of the medium. For outdoor sculptures, the impermanence of wood resonates with me because when it is left in it’s natural, outdoor setting, in time it is reclaimed by the Nature, despite applying wood preservatives. That can prolong the process but I rather like the idea of Nature taking the artwork back. It implies a reciprocity that is healthy for us to acknowledge. To appreciate the creation while it is here but to let the wood go back, to nourish the soil, the microbes and the next generation of life that will emerge from its remains.
These four commissions were for private collectors and represent a period of my artistic career as a woodcarver that now spans over three decades.
One of the joys of carving wood is to expand public awareness of the potential that wood holds as a fine art medium. I love completing commissions for clients who appreciate the collaborative aspects interweaving the beauty of the wood with my vision as an artist. At the beginning of each commissioned artwork, the client and I set goals at the beginning of the project, including scale, medium, type of wood, style of carving, the location of the installation and budget.
All four of these sculptures integrated Old World carving techniques with minimal machine tooling. The results are exquisite shapes that I envision, merged with the angles and lines from the woods' grain. Some of the sculptures required layering, gluing and drying a variety of wood species together. Once carved, I achieve the perfect blend of each type of wood, including color and texture, and artful representation of the subject matter.
I am an Abenaki. We're the people that the Anishinaabe refer to as "The Eastern Door Keepers." We come from the States of Northern New England and also from Quebec, Canada. My own people (on my Father's side) are from the Abenaki of Quebec. I refer to my Studio as "Sweet Medicine Studio" because I find making art and viewing art as therapeutic. It heals the soul. Thus, sweet medicine. I also find that the music made by the instruments I make (though not only the ones I make!) to be calming and therapeutic. My caskets, however (on project #3,) are labeled under the moniker of "Humble Crossings." It is a name that just came to me as I was contemplating making caskets.