I get a lot of emails about all sorts of woodworking-related topics. Everything from government trade programs, readers sharing their latest projects, questions about past articles, new product announcements…the list goes on. An email from a few days ago was about a new exhibition at the Wood Symphony Gallery, an online gallery dedicated to promoting and exhibiting contemporary arts made of wood. Although the exhibition’s focus is on U.S. wood artists, there are pieces from makers from 21 countries around the world.
The work Wood Symphony Gallery showcases is smaller turned or sculpted pieces, and the level of craftsmanship is absolutely incredible. Pushing woodworking well into the world of art, these pieces are sought after by collectors who pay a premium price for some truly stunning works of wood art. Some pieces are impressive mainly for the high level of skill needed to create them, while others push political, societal or cultural boundaries, making statements about the world we live in.
I mainly enjoy seeing what can be done with wood, and the bold and beautiful finishes that accentuate these designs. Many woodworkers shudder at the thought of painting wood, but I find the right mix of colours usually makes a good piece even stronger and more beautiful. To each their own, though, so don’t worry; I don’t expect everyone reading this will agree with me!
I’m immediately drawn to the pierced carving, although I’ve only done one of these types of pieces myself. We featured my “Insert Pierced Carving” article in our Oct/Nov 2014 issue.
It most definitely doesn’t have the same level of refinement and beauty of the pieces Wood Symphony Gallery has included in their recent show. I’m also a sucker for the incredible texture added to some of these pieces. If you read my post last week, that won’t surprise you.
As you browse the online exhibition, I’m sure you’ll notice the price of these pieces. There are some very expensive pieces here, though prices vary quite a bit. I’m no art expert, but the beauty and technical difficulty of a piece are only two factors that go into pricing works of art like these. One other important factor is the artist, and what they’ve sold in the past.
From my point of view, the pricing isn’t the most interesting part (even though it does make me wish I could break through into the world of wood art!). The technical aspect of how these pieces are made, and what the artist has been able to do with a piece of wood, is what I focus on. Have a look through the online exhibition at WoodSymphony.com. There are also a couple of past exhibitions to view if you like what you see. Maybe something here will inspire you to try a new technique or add a bold finish to your next project. I know that’s what I’ll be doing, even though I doubt very much my work will ever be mentioned in the same sentence as this fine collection of international works of art.
Let me know what you find inspiring.