The Blakely Burl Tree Project
ARTWORKS / PROJECTS
Artists: Mark Lindquist and
Material: Blakely Burl Tree Burl Wood
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Mark Lindquist and Gary
Stevens created the first major piece of art from the Blakely Burl Tree
during the filming of the video at Lindquist Studios.
Photos: John McFadden
a BA from New England College and an MFA from Florida State
University. He is the son of legendary woodturning pioneer Melvin
Recipient of the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American
Association of Woodturners and a fellow of the American Craft
Council, Mark Lindquist's tireless exploration of the expressive
possibilities of the medium has helped to define its past, present,
and future in the fine art world. In 1995, the Renwick Gallery of
the Smithsonian American Art Museum honored Lindquist by hosting his
25-year retrospective exhibition. His work has been acquired by
major museums in the United States and Europe including the Victoria
and Albert Museum (London), Smithsonian American Art Museum
(Washington, DC), High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), and Metropolitan
Museum of Art (New York).
Like many others of a generation before, Gary
developed his work in relative isolation. He had already been
working with wood for more than twenty years, and selling his
turnings and sculpted vessels for several years when he met Mel and
Mark Lindquist. They were brought together by their love of wood and
their interest in technical innovation, and worked together
periodically over several years. “I first met Mel in 1996 when he
was in his mid-80s,” Gary explains. “We hit it off right off the
bat. I had tremendous respect for him, not only for what he had
accomplished, but also as a person.” Because we know how much his
own grandfather meant to Gary, it is a measure of profound respect
when he says,”Mel was like another grandfather to me. When we were
working together in the studio he could be a little rough around the
edges. He would use some old-time saying to convey a thought or an
idea. It would usually make me laugh, but I know exactly what he
meant. He would smile and nod his head. I cherish the time we got to
Gary also acknowledges that Mark has a had a strong influence on his
later work. “Mark really worked with me on sculpture. He made me go
to the library and study artists like Jean Arp, Max Bill, Brancusi,
and others. Then we would have discussions about the artists and
their work. This dialogue really helped me focus on my sculptural
forms and the direction that I have taken.”
Gary Stevens has found a remarkable balance in his life. He makes it
clear that what he calls his “day job” is as much a part of who he
is as anything else, but it is made even more meaningful when it is
measured against his other life as an artist. “For me working in the
studio is a safe refuge from high stress. I’m still excited every
time I start a new piece—the possibilities seem endless to me.”
Mel Lindquist (left), Gary Stevens (Center), and Mark
Lindquist (right), working at Lindquist Studios during Gary Steven's
assistantship with the Lindquists, circa 1998, 1999
Making the first piece from the Blakely Burl Tree
Mark Lindquist (left) and
Gary Stevens created the first major piece of art from the Blakely Burl
Tree during the filming of the video at Lindquist Studios. Following
are photos of part of the process.
Photos: John McFadden
Artists Mark Lindquist (foreground) and Gary
Stevens working on a piece of the Blakely Burl Tree during filming.
Gary and Mark discuss the direction of the piece.
Determining the direction and stability of the grain.
Mark Lindquist grinding the interior.
Gary Stevens grinding.
Gary Stevens chain sawing the form on the back side.
The final roughed out form.
Mark Lindquist and Gary Stevens,
Blakely Burl Tree Vessel # 1, 2009-2010, Pecan Burl, 10"H x
18" W x 16"D
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