Steam-bent wooden sculptures are made using a special process that I have developed. It is similar to wooden boat building only with smaller objects. Sculptures are built from Oak or Walnut wood strips that are steam bent and then laminated and finished. The bulk of my pieces are free-standing Great Blue Herons approximately 24 inches high and 14 inches wide with a depth of about 3 inches in a variety of finishes. I am also currently building larger herons, swans, geese and seahawks. I am also have created versions that can be framed and mounted on the wall like a painting.
Each bird is unique. Although they are created in the same mold, the different wood strips that are laminated back into bird shapes have different characteristics (eg. different grain patterns and colorations) and I purposely vary the direction. Because of this each wood strip bends differently, and retains it shape differently. To a large extent, the wood decides what the final bird will look like.
When I retired in 2015 from years as a computer server engineer, I wanted to do something creative and build something unusual. Steam bent wooden sculptures is the medium that I selected. I had been doing word working in my spare time for many years on many different, usual projects…nothing unusual. I saw a bent wood sculpture in a gallery in eastern Canada about 10 years ago. I was impressed with the elegance and simplicity and upon examination determined that this was something that I could do. Since there were no instructions and I had seen nothing similar, I developed a process through trial and error and became able to create several types of bird sculptures.
In early August 2016 I showed my birds for the first time at the Kitsap Arts and Crafts festival in Kingston. I received much favorable feedback about the elegance, beauty and uniqueness of these birds. One customer described these sculptures as “looking like music”. I have also shown and sold birds in additional shows in Kitsap, Clallam, and Jefferson Counties. I am proud and excited to have been accepted as a member of the Collective Visions Gallery.