An Art Gallery on The Big River dedicated to Art of, by and for The People!
I have been carving, with the intention of creating objects that match my inner vision, for about 8 years.
I first remember using a pocket knife to play with wood when I was about 8 years old. I was sitting under a tree, whittling on a small branch. I remember being fascinated with almost every stroke of the knife–the endless ways that the wood would change. Showing off its inner beauty.
At the same time, I would also lie back on the ground and look up thru the branches of the large tree I was under. Incredible depth. Imaginary worlds. And thru the branches and leaves, hints of sky. The beyond.
The tree was on a side street in Chicago. Cars would often pass. Other urban sounds. And I was entranced. Peaceful and quiet. Focused on wood.
About 8 years ago, I was at a workshop designed to discover, and celebrate, what each participant identified as their genius–what they would be able to do 24 hours a day and not get bored. And I remembered that my passion was PLAYING with WOOD and EARTH.
I have had a number of other interests that came together at that time, and contributed to how I carve wood, some of them dating back at least to the age of 8.
WOOD: I have always collected pieces of wood that intrigued me. Infinite variety of shapes and patterns. And often, something hidden, or waiting, just on the other side of the surface.
IMAGERY: For many years, I have explored varieties of creative and healing imagery, especially spontaneous imagery, that rises from the depths of our conscious and unconscious selves. I have been intrigued with animal and nature imagery, and loved the opportunity to pursue any journey that these images offered. In this learning process, I studied with Dick Olney and Stephen Gallegos.
MINIATURE WORLDS: I have long wondered what it would be like to enter miniature worlds. Some of the glimpses I have had of these are: Mary Jane and Sniffles (a comic book series); the Teenie Weenies (a comic strip): Lilliputians; the Micronauts (another comic book series); leprechauns; miniature rooms at the Chicago Art Institute; Joseph Cornell’s boxes.
PARALLEL WORLDS and TIME TRAVEL: I have often been able to get lost in books and movies that described universes parallel to ours; and the gates that exist between them. My favorite writer on this subject was Phillip Jose Farmer. However, I could often find my own gates while exploring deserted buildings, alleys and old dumps.
LIMINAL SPACES: I have always enjoyed “the space between…,” although I often forget it is there.
FAIRIES: While doing some genealogy a few years ago, I met a man with whom I shared a great grandmother. I had not known him until that point in time. He said he had always heard that our great grandmother was Irish until the day she died at about age 90. She had continued to smoke a pipe; AND she knew that the fairies lived in the creek. (That creek is near to here, in Irish Valley, outside Waumandee, WI.) I presumed she had met the fairies; and sensing that, I continue to trust their presence.
So, when carving, I often feel that I enter the wood. Not only as the holder of the tool; but as one of the people, animals, or plants that live there, enjoying another day in the universe.