The Workbench

A slightly sawdust filled space for the musings and ramblings of a couple of arboreal eccentrics and their faithful hounds.

Observations on a Stand of White Wood

The Saturday afternoon was surprisingly breezy with plenty of spring’s billowing white clouds. Driving down for an evening away in Savannah, just past the turn off for the picturesque Sheldon Church ruins, we came to a most striking view: petrified trees standing sentential in the low marsh grasses so ubiquitous in the South Carolina low country.  These trees struck me as something separate, monoliths raised in juxtaposition to the saline waters in these parts. Some have fallen or broken but the rest—stripped, elegant, unadorned—reinforce the enduring and hearty nature of trees. Unrelentingly white and bare, they shouldn’t still stand with our weather and the environmental conditions here, but they do.
Considering these naturally existing land art sculptures takes me back to the moment I fist saw some of Louise Bourgeois’s early Personage pieces. Bourgeois’s large retrospective traveling from London’s Tate Modern to New York’s Guggenheim was the first exhibition catalogue I ever worked on and one that helped me to define the way I consider art. Her work is challenging and produces a visceral reaction—be it one of love or repulsion—and I have felt both deeply. It was one thing to work on the book in preparation for the opening and another all together to see these now familiar pieces in situ. A two foot high raised white platform, elevated from the viewer, peppered with sticks of washed wood, each one unique and considered, still delivering all the impact they had at their first showing in New York when the artist was still a new mother and a new New Yorker.
Her totem like works are often shown, as they were in London, collected in a cluster, becoming a literal stand of reimagined wood. Early on Bourgeois was photographed with her grove of Personage on the roof of her Manhattan apartment. This image of her present among her forest feels liminal—it is her space to cross—the rest of us must be satisfied with a more distant, discrete observation point.


As we look out over the mash and into that stand of dead wood, we are able to remain a bit romantic about nature’s own sculpture. Because if we set one foot into the salty, sulfurous decomposing plant matter that is a Carolina marsh, there would be little romance left. Content with the experience of this parallel observation point, I see this dead stand of bare trunks perforated by that first viewing of ashy totemic people sculptures, and I respect the continuity.

Benches and Doors in Japan

Just a couple of photos our friend Mark Sloan (with the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art) sent us from his recent trip to Japan.

More Himalayan Cedars…

Just a couple pics of more Himalayan Cedar logs soon to be milled!

jenks.jpgphoto.jpg

Redcliffe Plantation, Himalayan Cedars

I have recently gotten between 2 and 7 logs (going to pick up more tomorrow) of Himalayan Cedar (cedrus deodara) that came down in tornadoes outside of Augusta, GA. They are beautiful trees and beautiful wood. I’m still amazed that someone had the foresight to plant these in the 30’s at this plantation! Here are a few pictures of the milling process. I’m hoping that it will all be ready to work with in about 4 months. Many thanks to Joy at Redcliffe and Jenks Farmer who alerted me to them.

loading.jpgmilling.jpgh-cedar.jpg

NYC!

I guess I’m a bit overdue for a bit of a catch up, there have been so many amazing things going on that I’m so grateful for.

NYC

I just came back (last week) from 4 days in the city for meetings, art, and fun. All in all it was a fantastic time.

I saw two gallery shows, both very good. The Kamrooz Aram show at Perry Rubenstein Gallery is amazing. Many thanks to one of my best friends, Michael McKinney, who has worked with PR Gallery for the last 5 years. Also, the Philip-Lorca diCorcia show Thousand at David Zwirner Gallery is absolutely amazing. Many thanks to Donna Chu with Zwirner for taking good care of us…

The time in the City was great…catching up with old and new friends and eating some of the best food I’ve had in a long time. Many thanks to friends Sue and Roy. (Sue is the baker for Alice’s Teacup, the most amazing scones ever!)

Also some very encouraging press meetings, possible client meetings, and conversations regarding work…many thanks to those who keep me challenged and moving forward…

Upon return, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my work on some awesome blogs and design sites.

Topping that list is Design Milk who just featured my furniture. There have a great and well respected site please check it out! Many thanks!

Also, thanks to friend and designer Ivie, with Parker Sims Interiors, who posted an interview with me about my work.

Just for a little photo fun, here is a piece I found on the outside wall of the Roebling Tea Room in Brookyln…

photo1.jpg