Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paradise City - Northampton Debrief

I got back from Northampton late on Monday night and have been busy catching up and putting everything back in its place. It was a good show and I actually made some sales too. Both of my blistered maple pieces are gone "Thrice in a Lifetime" (left side of back wall) and "Yin/Yang" (left side of left wall) as well as "One Walnut Strip" (right side of back wall). And there seems to be interest in other pieces so maybe some follow up sales will come through as well.

The response to my work continues to be very good. Of course, plenty of people walk right by and aren't interested, but the people the stop and look have some really intense responses. I'm always a little surprised by it because I'm a little jaded by my own work. It is hard to see what someone else sees when they see it for the first time. I constantly here people ask "how do you get your colors?" and say that they have never seen anything like it before; that it is very original. Some people just stop and say "Wow!" so I must be accomplishing what I intend.

These shows are very draining though. Long days of saying the same thing over and over and over again. I try not to sound like a broken record but whenever I mix it up a bit I get lost and end up sounding inarticulate. Other artists have told me the same thing, the rule is, if you have a good spiel, stick with it. You may have heard it thousands of times but the public is hearing it only once. I've also found it is important to drink a lot of liquids. I'm amazed by how much moisture I lose by talking constantly.

My display walls seem to have worked out well. I get a lot of complements about them. The only problem is that I need a lot of space to put them together so it is hard to do when everyone else is getting ready. I thought I designed them so that I could put them together in place but that hasn't worked out as planned because it is hard to slide the panels into place. Someone at the show suggested that I rub soap inside the grooves of the rails and styles. If it works, I might be able to put them together without getting in the way of others.

There were some other interesting wood artists at the show. In addition to Jeffery Oh and Carl Schlerman who were both at the Baltimore show, I saw work by Brian Wood and Nathaniel Smith. Brian creates these great wood turning sculptures with blocks of wood. This sphere is pretty impressive. He says that he turns three reference lines and then carves the sphere from there. It doesn't looked carved to me but I'm not sure how else you could do it so I'll believe him.

©Brian Wood
I also liked his vases that had missing blocks. It reminded me of Bud Latven's absolutely insane work so I had to ask Brian how he though Bud made his sculptures. For Brian's work, it is "easy" enough to remove a few blocks during glue up, but for the amount of missing block that Bud has, he has to carve them out after turning.
©Brian Wood
I also really like this small vase with holes.
©Brian Wood
I also liked Nathaniel's dancing branch sculptures. They are all made with beech branches and either finished with india ink and tung oil, or just tung oil. It is amazing how much personality each branch has. Nathaniel is an arborist during the week so he always has a good, inexpensive source for his art.

©Nathaniel Smith


  1. Congrats Rob on a very successful event! The photos of your art look fantastic! Best wishes to you!