Furniture and the history of design have inspired me to delve into an investigation of its specific components. Over the past twenty years my investigations have led me on a journey of discovery that has included Shaker design, Asian design, issues in contemporary art and currently American quilt making, all of which have manifested themselves through my furniture making process.
I make things. ”I can’t not make things.” It’s a quote from one of my favorite authors and essayist (and unfortunately) the late David Rakoff. He was obviously speaking about himself. But that is exactly how I feel. “I can’t not make things.” I never stop thinking about the project or projects in front of me, the next project, and even projects I’ve finished.
I’ve always made things; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t make things. But I struggled when I was young, it was always hard for me. Until, in junior high school at the age age of 11 or 12, I made a bowl from Honduras mahogany on a wood lathe. Thankfully, or maybe luckily, mahogany works easily. It was the first time I worked with wood where I had success, where I actually enjoyed it. I was immediately hooked. So what turned out to be my dad’s greatest parenting moment, he bought a wood lathe for me. Together we started buying small pieces of wood from around the world, and I found a hobby which chose the direction I’d take in life. In a way, Barry Newstat Furniture began when I began my life’s work, in 1971.
I started my career as a teacher. But I was restless, I want to make things! So after only six years, I quit and in 1987 I started making things as a profession. In addition to furniture, I am constantly looking for new pieces to create. My process most often starts with a specific piece of wood, which will determine a project I’m compelled to make; it will set my direction and ultimately decide what form the piece will take. Before ever making a cut, I can spend hours searching and sorting lumber stacks and looking at lumber or just small boards I’ve put aside.
I choose to work in a pure and traditional craftsmanlike way. How a piece is created makes all the difference. My work is created from the heart, and I still get lost in the art of making things. My hope is it will be admired for its beauty and taken advantage of for its function; it will make a home a warm, inviting and inspiring place. And when taking a closer look, you’ll say out loud “wow, look at that!”
Krantz Design is a custom furniture maker in Wisconsin that specializes in upscale, craftsman style or mission style furniture. Bob Krantz designs all of his own pieces and has won many awards from art shows for his work. Products change frequently, but usually include tables, clocks, coat racks, mirrors, display pieces, accessories and many custom order proprietary pieces.
“My primary ambition as a furniture designer is to create museum-quality furniture and artwork that is functional, thought-provoking, and pleasing to the eye.”
Robert Krantz creates original pieces that, though they may perform tasks similar to other furniture, have a design, look, and quality all their own. Each piece has details that make it stand out from the ordinary.
Krantz constructs his pieces from the finest hardwoods and exotic veneers. The combination of distinctive woods and original designs works in concert to make each piece exceptional.
“My work derives from memory, passage of time and the mystery that can hide in the everyday. Reverence mixed with speculation and imagination is what I draw from when creating my work. Each sculpture is purposely ambiguous in order to strengthen the viewer’s attraction to what is not easily definable. My work is simultaneously both familiar and foreign. I use the implication of functionality in order to prompt speculation on the part of the viewer. The references used range from mechanical to the biological and from the contemporary to the ancient. A disconnect from a predicable timeline facilitates each object to be viewed with a new perspective.”
Nathan Hatch grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin and received a Bachelors of Fine Art in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and completed the Masters of Fine Art program at the University of Kentucky in 2011. At UK Hatch served as an instructor in the Art department while focusing on public art and creating unique sculptural landscapes.
Hatch has most recently been the artist in residence for Eastern Illinois University and was a featured artist in the biennial publication of Encaustic Works 2012 and exhibition in Kingston, NY. In March and April of 2013 he was a funded artist in residence at Sculpture Space in Utica, NY where he continued his ongoing body of work that incorporates memory, passage of time and implied reverence as its driving themes.
Wood is my material of choice. It can be so intrinsically beautiful that anything made from it becomes an object to admire or desire. Whenever I can get wood of surpassing beauty it makes my job easier and the product more valuable.
Whatever the wood is you just do the best you can with what you have. You inflict your will and your tools on it; what ever results from that can be art or craft or a piece of functional furniture. I am most enthusiastic about executing designs that involve freeform joinery and intarsia (solid wood inlay). This entails precision free hand work with band saws and routers.
The themes are hard to define but some of these terms come to mind: abstract, organic, and chaotic. The aim is to create visual interest, to draw the viewer in, as a painting would invite closer scrutiny.
It’s a business. I do some art fairs, work with galleries and take some commissioned work on. As a one man shop that’s all I can handle. Nearly all of what I do is one of a kind pieces. I have been doing this for years and for this I feel grateful, fortunate and free.
As a young man I had the opportunity to watch an artisan demonstrate advanced wood turning. As a beautiful bowl became fashioned from what amounted as little more than a piece of firewood, I became intrigued with the whole process.
Born and raised in Northeast Wisconsin, the son of a log cabin builder, I was taught to work with wood at an early age.
For nearly two decades I worked for a custom wood shop in Peshtigo, WI, constructing heavy timber tresses, custom beams, and even a few old time covered bridges. For the past ten years I have been self employed creating custom gazebos, custom furniture and a few log homes.
Since 2004, I have been a member of the Northeast Wisconsin Wood Turners Association. I have learned a lot from the organization, the classroom like environment and the honest critique given from other members has helped my work improve.
The materials that I use for turning are found locally, gathered from my property or salvaged from logging operations. I like to use burl or wood with unusual grain patterns and colors. Often I will start turning a piece with a shape in mind, but will be led to a completely different shape once I get inside of the wood.
My hope is that others will enjoy the end result as much as I enjoy the process of creating the piece.
David Morris, a Walnut Creek, California, resident, decided in 1996 to begin expressing his passion for wood by creating objects turned on a wood lathe. His creations are admired for their unique design and fine finishing. He utilizes wood that he collects in Wisconsin, California, and Hawaii.
Dave was raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He utilized his degree in Chemical Engineering to manage oil-refining facilities until leaving the industry to pursue his interest in woodturning. He resides in a home adjacent to his studio with his wife Sally near Arbolado Park. They enjoy frequent visits from the families of their two delightful daughters, Kathy and Kristy, especially when those visits include their four wonderful grandchildren.
He has studied at the Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and is an active member of the American Association of Woodturners. His work has won awards in judgings by his peers. In the past his work has been featured at the Walnut Creek Bedford Gallery (The Big Tree Project, the 2005 and 2008 triennial Local Voice shows) and with other sculptors at the Annual Ruth Bancroft Garden Show.
Dave continues to be very active with Habitat for Humanity, building locally and traveling on nine occasions with the Jimmy Carter Work Projects for major builds, nationally and internationally.
When I’m not in the studio I am paddling on Puget Sound, or walking along it’s shores. I grew up kayaking and camping in the Adirondacks, along the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Carolina Coasts. I’ve lived in Upstate, NY near the FingerLakes and in the Midwest near Lake Michigan. Now I live in the North West on Vashon Island. Where ever I have lived, these particular stretches of seas, lakes and rivers go with me. They are in me every bit as much as I am in them.
I am influenced by the subtle landscape paintings of the 19th century Luminists, who were focused on the effects of light and atmosphere, especially Sanford Gifford. John F. Kensett’s compositionally reduced paintings interest me as well as the haunting, understated solitary moments in Edward Hopper’s work.
I begin painting by remembering my childhood weekend camping trips–feeling those landscapes in my mind awakens a sense of freedom and serenity. On site I shoot hundreds of photographs and back in the studio I work from memories of past and present experiences and the photos. I work in oils but begin with many charcoal sketches to distill my feelings into simplified compositions which allow me freedom to focus on light and form when resolving the paintings.
Sometimes I collaborate with my father who is a wonderful photographer and I’ll adapt his images of our camping trips from the 50‘s and 60‘s into my paintings. This is where the figures in landscape began for me. Now when I’m camping and see children and adults acting like children I photograph them to celebrate nature’s inherent, self contained power to uplift.
I meditate daily to bring calm clear energy to the work. To further express the power and serenity of landscape I’ve increased the scale of my paintings to allow me to feel the expansiveness of the place and the awe that I experienced as a child and continue to experience now.
The focus of my paintings has been the “driftless” country to the west of where I live. I’m strongly attracted to the wooded hills, especially from late fall till green-up. I’m particularly interested in the colors and contours of that landscape. Usually found in the big vistas on the hill tops or looking up and down the valleys. These valleys all have streams, which I’ve always enjoyed and have lately been painting. As I’m mostly painting “plein-air,” the bird life is often part of my day, and they keep working their way into these paintings, as has been the case throughout my painting career.
Lately I’ve come to believe that the relationship between a painter and a particular place may be familiar, even intimate, but a certain process or emotional transaction still must take place.
To paraphrase Andrew Wyeth: “It’s not the subject; it’s what you carry to it that’s important.” What I feel about it, even though the Wisconsin landscape is very beautiful, is that it can be just as trite and ordinary as any other place unless you have something to add to it. Something has to happen to me in the moment, that flash of realization that unlocks past experiences.
These days I find that over and over it is the feeling I get from having spent time in various “landscapes” as a boy and young man. Often a field with my father that moves me to try to portray a place, the weather, the feel of it all.
For me, the place where I was born and raised is the place to paint.
“Plato taught that all ideas came from a larger place. This concept of different spheres of existence, of past and present and future, plays a big part in my paintings. I might make one panel very clear and another cloudy, to convey this sensation of variant realities, no matter what my subject.
I believe in the Platonic concept that the idea of a place or an object supersedes actual reality. So when it comes to the landscape, while I’m inspired by actual places, I strive not to imitate them but to re-create the universal idea of landscape in time. Past, present and future are expressed not only by the vertical breaks in my paintings but also by the multiple transparent glazes that I apply over raw under-painting.
My work is intended to evoke emotions and feelings, questioning what we are and how we see them. We all bring our experiences into each question we try to solve. These same experiences also determine how we look at our world. We may think of some common experiences when we ponder these passages, but more likely, they are much more individual and unique. The work is simply not about what we see in front of us, but rather, about what we bring into our interpretation.
I hope that when people look at my work, what they see calms them and illustrates the beauty that is all around us. Society has become very complicated. Peace lies in simplicity.”
Tal Walton was born in Salt Lake City in 1965. At age 18, Tal traveled to Mexico to do mission work as a representative of the Mormon church. For Mormons, this mission service marks the passage into adulthood. For Tal, it also profoundly influenced his development as an artist.
In Mexico, he discovered interesting dichotomies – from the simple determination of the impoverished people in contrast to the difficulty of their lives, to the ornate Spanish cathedrals set against the sparse landscape. Contrasts of the simple and the complex would later become the hallmark of his paintings.
Walton studied painting and sculpture at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Art. Well-grounded in classic forms and philosophy, Walton embraces the Platonic concept of different spheres of existence. He structures his work through use of orthogonal measurements to create strong and harmonious composition.
Walton’s hope is that the serenity of his paintings will draw the viewer in, and the complexity of his work will inspire lingering contemplation. In his paintings he strives not to imitate actual places but to recreate the universal idea of landscape and time.
Tal paints in oil on a prepared marble ground highlighted with gold leaf, which imparts luminosity to the pigments overlaying its surface. Walton also adds sandpaper marks and scratches to the gessoed surface, giving it an aged, old appearance. He applies as many as 20 glazes to each piece. These techniques and his personal and religious sources of inspiration impart an Old World feeling to his work, bridging the gap between the traditional and the contemporary.
Walton learned the skill of making frames, enjoying the complexities of gilded ones. Inspired by the elaborately carved and gilded altars he had seen in cathedrals in Mexico, he began placing his finished paintings in his own wonderful gilded creations. For a brief moment he was concerned that the works might be misconstrued as sacrilegious, although his intent was just the opposite: he wanted people to look at the landscape in a reverent way. One of the most recognizable elements of Walton’s work is his use of three-part divisions. All of his paintings are divided into three sections – usually vertical. The underlying design and what Walton wants to convey govern the width of the three adjoining bands.
The three divisions found in Walton’s paintings symbolize our past, present, and future lives. They are derived from his spiritual pursuit, asking the three eternal questions: Why am I here, where am I from, and where am I going?
The center section of each painting represents the current reality of our lives and is symbolized by relatively strong, clear colors. By contrast, the colors in the adjoining sections are darker and more muted.
Tal currently lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado where he finds balance between painting and activities with his family.