Were you always creative and what was your earliest creation?
I wouldn’t say I was always creative, but I have always been ‘different’. (That is one way people describe others whose creativity they don’t understand.) Both of my parents were creative. My mom was a painter- though she rarely showed her work, and my dad has worked with wood for as long as I can remember. I never had a moment when I realized that I was influenced by their creativity, but some of it was passed on. I enjoyed art and shop classes throughout my school years.
At what point did you say, “I’m an artist”?
I never saw myself as an artist until I was in college. I majored in horticulture and minored in art at WKU. Prior to that I never realized how much of a role art has played in my life. It was then that I realized how much I enjoy the creative process and was willing to call myself an artist.
What is your specialty?
I have enjoyed working in various mediums from photography to paint to wood to living trees over my creative life. If I have a specialty, it would be anything tree related.
What is your favorite piece (of your own) and why?
One of my favorite works is ‘Mother and Child’. It is a set of two pieces, one a large swooping piece of honeylocust wood that makes me think of a mother protecting her child, the other a pod carved from black walnut with a yellow wood bean, the baby, inside.
Do you harvest your own material for woodworking?
I harvest some of my own material and much of it is given to me. If someone is removing a tree, they are usually more than happy for you to haul off some of their waste. Many of the best pieces of wood for my work are not of any value for lumber or even firewood.
Do you have your own studio space? Home or elsewhere? Is it open to public?
If you can count a dusty, messy barn as a studio then yes! I work in a barn in my back yard. It is not open to the public, but if someone is interested in learning how I work then I would be happy to host a visitor.
Do you exhibit your work? yes
If so, where?
I enter my work in local art shows, such as ArtWorks, and some is for sale at Ellis Walker gallery. Some of my work is also on display at the Baker Arboretum / Downing Museum.
What inspires you, in general?
Trees! I am inspired by the natural world around us and how we can live within it. I am also inspired by good design and craftsmanship, especially in old tools and furniture. I really appreciate things that were made not to be consumed/discarded, but to be used and passed down for generations.
If you could be an artist anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
As long as I have access to nature I think I could be happy to work just about anywhere in the world. I had the privilege to see various parts of the world while in the Army and found them to all be inspiring in their own ways.
What is your dream for the future?
Well, I play the lottery a couple of times per year, so early retirement would be nice! I hope that my son will be influenced/inspired by seeing enough local artists’ works that he is able to appreciate the beauty that surrounds our lives.
Who is your favorite artist?
It depends on the day. Sometimes the unknown wood artists on Pinterest can be really inspiring. I’m a fan of weird and unusual as well as the classics.
What piece are you currently working on?
I have a large hollow stump behind my barn that has been waiting for a few years for me to do something with it. I have some ideas and doodles, but I never know for sure what my wood pieces will be until they are done!