Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Wood You Do...

...when stymied by a project that completely stalled your studio output? While working on a beautiful dress, I got stuck on how to engineer the back closure. The lack of human model makes a fitted dress difficult, and since sewing is usually a sequential process - until I figure it out, I can't move forward. I didn't know what to do.

And then I saw the log pile from the olive tree we had to cut down. I began chopping away and immediately felt such freedom, cutting away intuitively, letting the material have its say. Before I knew it, I was sitting in a drift of sawdust and I'd completed about a dozen hairsticks. Feeling very encouraged, next I made some wild sculptural rings, and then a heart-shaped ring box/saltcellar of which I'm quite proud.

I know this departure might seem strange, especially considering my blog's title, but I've always worked with a variety of materials and techniques. And wood is a fiber, after all. And I figure I come by it naturally: my grandfather, father, and brother have all worked with wood. I wish they'd been around to teach me about working with wood and share the joy of making. I've thought of them a lot as I've been carving.

Norwegians’ have traditional wedding spoons, carved by suitors and used by the bride and groom at the wedding reception. These beautiful carved spoons are connected by a chain and are all carved from one piece of wood. I wanted to challenge myself to carve an interlocked form, and pay homage to my heritage but with a contemporary Scandinavian feel, encompassing concepts and beliefs which are important to me.

I started carving, with love and good intentions, and "Unity Chains" were the result. I've made several in this series. These are pendants of two unique, interlocked links carved from one piece of olive wood: symbols of love, peace, commitment, and interdependence; and metaphor for celebrating individual uniqueness and the strength, and flexibility, found only in unity.

Here is the finished Unity Necklace and the piece in process below:

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