Wood sculpting allows Joel the opportunity to explore the forms and patterns of the natural world. He began the reductive sculpture process by modeling pieces after smooth river rock, evolving to pieces that could also serve a purpose — a small table, a bowl — while still maintaining an organic, abstract feel.
"I have been drifting back and forth trying to find the balance between sculpture and utility.
There are times when I miss the precision of fine furniture making, and I wish for a better blueprint to follow than the (sometimes) vague idea in my head. More often than not though, I’m happy to chase the idea until it materializes in front of my eyes. Working with solid pieces of wood presents some challenges in that it changes as it is shaped. It cracks, twists and warps, sometimes dramatically. Bad spots in the wood will appear out of nowhere, and where they are least wanted. It took me a while to learn that as frustrating as these things can be, it’s just wood being wood. Accept it, work with it, have patience and it comes together . . . usually."
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