Wood is not a blank canvas, but one that has its own characteristics of grain pattern, texture, color and imperfections, like cracks and inclusions. My creative philosophy is to never impose my designs onto the pre-existing character of the wood; rather, I try to integrate my designs to enhance its inherent beauty. Recently, as I turned a Maple Burl blank on the lathe, I noticed splating lines, which occur in some trees due to the presence of fungi. These wavy, thin black lines, like pen strokes, caught my eye, and I decided to change my design to celebrate these natural patterns in the wood. Thus, I used them to frame a carving of organic design with elements of form suggestive of those in natural fungi: the result is the piece “Beauty Beneath.”
This is an example of why I strive to keep my creative-self flexible, realizing that initial designs must often be altered to take into account changing patterns in wood.