One foundation of my creative expression has always been to remove and simplify so here again this collection was visualized after both the Plate Leg and Open Leg series as a response to work that felt still to encumbered and bulky. An intentional attempt to “lighten” and simplify even more resulted in the elegant minimalist Stik Leg. Here deeply grained wood tops have replaced concrete to further switch gears from heavy and bold toward delicate and frail.
With respect to the Plate Leg collection, which came first, the motivation and challenge was to “open” up space and generate more dynamic flow through the piece while retaining the same honest and sexy slim proportions and principles. This time the elimination of excess material is accomplished by carving out as much of the plate as possible.
The progression and pattern of my creative exploration continues to give recognition to tried and true historical building techniques. Incorporating the elegant Mortis and Tenon joinery techniques used for many generations by woodworkers and builders were my goal in this collection. The simplicity, functionality and beauty retain its relevance even today amongst the modern advances in structural engineering, and material design. The collection applies these beautiful techniques to 1” thick steel plates, which weight 42 pounds each square foot. Each plate is precisely cut so that they will slip together without much force or manipulation and once the sections are positioned together gravity will lock the sections in place. Nothing more than that.
The power and beauty of these enormous century old timbers, repurposed from factory buildings, hay barns, and many other industrial platforms are the clear focal points for this collection. Under the outer veneer where the bulk of time-marinating took place is a layer that still tells their story yet in a dressier more contemporary fashion. Nail holes, stains, and “checking” all provide clues of their battered lives, but the smooth oiled surface and straightened clean lines give the beams new grace and new life. Nothing fancy here, honest intention gives these beasts of burden a new day.
Having absolutely no background or experience with furniture design I began the journey in 2004 with this original collection by generating a list of descriptive words to use as guiding principles. I was searching for words that would resonate with my point of view, and life experience. Words such as dynamic energy, organic elements, and clean intentional lines. The challenge was to pare down the design variables to their simplest and purest expression while simultaneously creating dynamic energy. The specific material pallet was not yet decided and the obvious use of wood to some was not so obvious to me. Concrete on the other hand was a material that I had been working with for a few years and had experienced its creative potential. Concrete also fit into the language I was looking for so it was a natural place to start. The opportunity next was to find the right pairing for it. Steel sculpture and its use in architectural applications had always generated an emotional response, so simply stated I now had my pallet. The resulting synthesis of these heavy “industrial” almost raw materials expresses an aesthetic that encapsulates my vision. My choice to use concrete as the top (horizontal) and steel as the base (vertical) created a dynamic energy because their engineered qualities of extension and compaction were being ignored. The illusion is effective and bold.
The task of gathering branches and bundling them together is a common utilitarian practice with so many applications mastered by countless generations. Humans are not the only gatherers of twigs and beaches. Most species of birds and other mammals such as the beaver are also masters of this practice and their constructions are often breathtaking. The functional randomness of these woody constructs are transposed into a sculptural lighting piece made out of porcelain clay. Each branch is tipped on both ends with a flame of gold glaze as if the inner workings of these white branches were bleeding golden sap. The glowing bundle is bound tight with raw animal hide to synch all the free elements together. Each piece is truly unique in its volume and application.
Referencing the shape of historic tools used for hunting and battle these interpretive floor lighting pieces are fabricated from 1” thick metal alloy with a shaded LED lighting element. The works are available in various finishes and all are commissioned so lengths are customizable.
Born out of the Concrete Blok collection the Foundation work moves from shapes resembling columns in building to subterranean walls that buildings sit on. A clear glass top enables the negative space and the interior walls to be additional elements in each pieces story.
The unpredictable imperfections, the constant change from weathering, uncontrollable tonal variations, plus it’s “plasticity” makes concrete a popular choice that aligns well with my design principles. The unanticipated geometry created by the forms used in the construction of a building’s skeleton is the inspiration for this collection. The penetrated legs of mirrored polished steel wed the rough and refined in a delicate yet committed relationship.
The symbolism of these monoliths is operant as is the simplicity in shape. These principles are gingerly gleaned from the iconic form of contemporary architecture and structural engineering. The proportions of their shape are crucial to the integrity and esthetic yet the walls of each side provide the canvas for each piece’s story to unfold. Even the top, which may be too high to see, is an opportunity.
Human societies have always established guiding principles in which their society was to live by. Whether these cornerstones were beneficial to all members of that society is a valid debate, which is as alive today as 5000 years ago. These images respond to the darker realities of those principles and practices that sometimes are so sacred and untouchable that they receive little contemplation or scrutiny. The full impacts of these principles are not limited to the human community but must include the natural environment, with all it’s life forms and natural systems, by which we all rely on. Birds have historically been effective powerful messengers of story and teachings for all varieties of cultures plus I have a personal passion for the study avifauna so I was compelled to use birds as the subjects to represent an honest interpretation of the darker side of our social cornerstones. Please note that not one single bird was killed for this project. The truth is that all were found dead along roadsides and collected over a number of years. During the time of this project the proper permits to salvage and collect were current. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns. The images are intended to be haunting and conger up emotions pertaining to realities within our human constructs.
Sand-cast plates from molten recycled and reclaimed aluminum, each having the qualities and variations I search for are welded together and then polished to a perfect imperfection. Natural voids and “dis-colorations” which are a natural aspect in the casting process, are trapped in the pieces decisive and balanced simple form and dimensions. All pieces are unique and numbered.
An upholstered version on the Concrete Blok collection where the panels of suede and leather mimic the visible patterns seen in the concrete. These panels are stitched together with visibly raised seams, appreciating another common and important primary industrial practice, which is usually tucked and hidden, but here they are highlighted.
Made on a Vermont farm in collaboration with a close friend these ceramic vessels are made using traditional Japanese glazing and firing techniques to produce the rich tones and textures making each one unique and the essence of Wabi-Sabi. Sizes and textures vary and can be made at custom heights from 12" to 38”.
A fundamental law of nature is that all biotic and abiotic material exists in a wondrous, chaotic, continuous flux between the present and the next moment. At a certain scale change can be observed though most of Life’s movements happen too slowly for our senses to notice, or for us to live long enough to witness. Our beautiful human lives are just too short. The oxidation of metal happens on the atomic scale with its constant loss of electrons, but the shift does happen quickly enough for us to witness and ponder. As the steel sculpture’s atoms continually shift from the neutral state to positively charged ions, producing the visible rusting that we can participate with, so to are these puzzle panels of steel in a continual transition that will out last our brief time.