Wood is a rich and forgiving medium. It is my companion and my muse. Throughout my life, the forest and trees have always been an inspiration and refuge. A deep connection and appreciation for wood and nature has defined me and my work.
As an artist, I am attracted to the imperfections and challenges represented by reclaimed wood. In my early years, reclaimed wood was all that was available to me because of financial reasons and lack of space to properly store and dry wood. Today I continue to work with it as it has become an integral part of my process. Giving something a new life and allowing people to see the beauty in something that was deemed unworthy gives me tremendous satisfaction.
Similar to the human body, a tree has a high moisture content. When the tree dies its wood begins to dry, and as the water leaves the wood cells its mass is reduced. This shrinking causes cracking or “checking” in the wood. Once the humidity levels within the wood stabilize with that of the humidity level outside of it, the checking will cease.
As wood is an organic material, it’s never truly “dead”. As moisture levels rise and fall, the wood will react to it. Should you take your piece from a high humidity level environment and place it an incredibly dry one, the piece may loose more moisture. This in turn may cause further checking. Should you repeat the procedure in reverse, you may see the wood move back towards its original form. Each piece is treated with oils and polymers to help seal and stabilize the wood, but nothing short of a vaccum environment can guarantee a piece of wood not to “move”.
Most of my pieces are finished with a food-safe Danish oil, and often top-coated with a natural bees wax. I find it the best combination for protecting the wood and allowing the beauty of the grain to come out looking natural.
My wood come from a variety of sources, Sometimes it’s given to me by people who need to take down a beloved tree, but hate to see the wood to go waste. Other pieces are salvaged from a burn pile or wood chipper, or are beach combed.