Every year as we mount our woodworking exhibit, I am reminded of how much I appreciate not only the craftsmanship and artistry of our wood artists — but the source of their raw material: the trees themselves. And writing this, I remembered way back, a blog post I wrote on Tim Carney’s website titled “The Songs of Trees.” I had to go looking for the music – yes it really is music, unique and kinda wild, made by a device that “plays” tree rings like an LP.
So, trees. Wood. The warmth of wood, of natural materials, of organic curves and soft angles. I am fascinated by the way trees that have been wounded, or stressed, or bent produce scars and signs of their struggles – and those scars make the wound more beautiful to our eyes. Burls are like that. And are a metaphor for the beauty formed in us, by our experiences both delightful and sorrowful. Look at the woodworker’s hands in the photo below. So much depth of experience and many flaws here, yet these hands are as beautiful as the hands of a baby (they are Tim’s hands.)
Art of Wood is our annual invitational woodworking show. This year we again invited our three favorite woodworking artists, Tim Carney, Boyd Carson and Tom Robinson. We also welcomed a new young Helena woodworker, John Brogan. His “day job” is unsurprising – he does finish carpentry and trim work as a builder. Yet his passion is furniture and wow – I have to say he’s got it going! The round mirrors are John’s as are the boxes and Pendleton-upholstered bench.
Sometimes an exhibit needs just a little tweak to make it sing. In the case of Art of Wood, I knew exactly the painter I wanted to invite to contribute his forest landscapes: Paul Blumenthal. Paul is an architect by training and an accomplished, self-taught painter with a distinctive expressionist style. His works encompass abstracts inspired by the desert in Israel, forest tracts burned by wildfire, and light-filled Montana landscapes.
The opening reception Friday evening was a blast! We were delighted by the large turnout and everyone who came had fun. The artists were all in attendance and spent their evening entertaining and educating our guests with stories, studio techniques and answering questions. Check out the photos below, from the reception. And make sure you come to our next exhibit opening night — May 12th we open Celebrate the Body 2023, our annual art jewelry and figurative art show. It also happens to be the same night as the Downtown Helena Spring Art Walk, so we KNOW we’ll see you there.
~ Maureen Shaughnessy
Browse the exhibit here
Don’t miss our opening receptions, if you’re anywhere close to Helena. Check out the fun!