Since childhood, I have had a deep fondness for trees. My mother told me that as soon as I could walk, I started climbing the trees that surrounded our house in rural Indiana. Any time day or night, if she couldn’t find me, she would walk outside and look up into the trees.
I was an engineer until my 30s, when I encountered the work of George Nakashima, a Japanese architect turned woodworker. His book, “The Soul of a Tree,” reflected my innermost thoughts about trees. I realized then that my life’s journey was going to be shaped by my mental, physical, and spiritual “communion” with trees. After another decade of searching, I found desert ironwood, and my path to becoming an artist was set.
Today, 40 years later, I look forward to going to my studio every day. Yes, there are orders to be filled and deadlines to be met. But when I step into my studio, I pass through a “bubble of light,” and leave any stress or worries outside. I approach each new day with a clear mind and an open heart.
With a cup of hot coffee close by and (on most days) the sunshine on my face, I begin having a conversation with my wood pile. I sort through piece-by-piece, until something stirs within me and a piece of wood speaks to me. I listen to the wood for guidance, and let the wood tell me what it wants to become.
When you hold a piece of my work in your hands, I hope you can sense my reverence for the wood itself. If you can sense a bit of the soul of the tree from which that wood was taken, then, as an artist, I can feel at peace.
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