I have always been intrigued with making things, being aware of nature and trying to limit my use of resources on this planet so to reduce global warming. Recycling is a big part of my art. I try to practice what I preach by using found objects in my work. They tell a story of their own, along with adding character to art.
When I see a design in my mind, I try to shape it into reality. My work is freehand and comfortable. I cut or add to my eyes’ delight. I like curves, and flow the pieces into a new use. I find a new energy from some objects, and creativity takes that “Ah Ha!” step.
Some metal can develop a look over time much as a wine’s flavor can grow. I try to blend the look of rust with the shine of grinding. I hammer the surface repeatedly to develop a textured look. My hands seem to know what to do when I cut, hammer and weld metal. Learning to let my heart over rule my conscience is sometimes the hard part.
Growing up on a farm, I learned to create using what materials I had available to me. As an adult, I taught others the skills needed to help them find their own careers. Nowadays, I make what I like, sometimes using things I find that others have left behind. This gives me the freedom and power to change my surroundings as I experience new ideas.
Nature has always been my playground. From the childhood forts in our woods, to walks with my girls at our camp, an idea can linger in my mind for years or jump right into my studio as emotions and objects coach each other for a position in a piece of work.
Having taught industrial arts at both the middle and high school levels for over 25 years, I’m now ready to make “MY” style of art. For years I have enjoyed restoring old houses and find a personal niche making the old come back to life and be put to practical use. I see beauty in blending early craftsmanship with the practicality of the 21st century.
I design and build furniture, door hardware, signs and planters for commercial office and restaurants, fences, light fixtures and many other metal projects. My focus has been with metal but a love for wood has given me a dual craft. I take an idea and design it with both the strength of steel and the warmth of wood. With a practical eye for the traditional collectible and a playful conscience for the unique, I look to create special, one of a kind pieces.
I have lived with my wife Barbara Johnstone and three teenage daughters – Ayla, 19, Olivia, 17, and Sophie, 14 – in Chelsea for the past 12 years. My “barn studio” and gardens is north of the city on 30 acres. I have a cabin in the Upper Peninsula near Marquette were I attended Northern Michigan University back in the late ’70’s.