Masters in Woodworking Exhibition on the Palouse

Wawawai Canyon Winery Pullman, Washington

Artists in Wood: New Expressions

Wawawai Canyon Winery will exhibit the works of area master woodworkers Ben Carpenter, Jim Christiansen, Geoff Crimmins, John Elwood, Bill Hendrix, Ed Krumpe, Kristin LeVier, Will Simpson, Gerrit Van Ness and Len Zeoli. “Artists in Wood: New Expressions will be on display from December 3rd through February 2010.

Of the group involved in the upcoming show, six artists have recently displayed their work at the Dahmen Barn with great success. The group formed as a means to support each other’s creativity and similar interest in wood as a medium. Critique and a sense of vision are common threads amongst the artists. Woodworker, Jim Christiansen (see image, above) has functioned as mentor to many of the artists.

“He makes his shop, his knowledge and his critical skills readily available. We gather around him because of his kindness and support,” said Len Zeoli.

Zeoli further explained how the group is working to establish itself, “Our small band of woodworkers has recently come together to show and market ourselves as fine artists. The long-held distinction between fine art and craft is often about the media associated with it, especially painting. In my mind, this distinction is artificial. Pieces created in wood may be functional—but they may also be significant works of fine art. Our initial success has stimulated us to continue producing new works and to develop a personae for ourselves, which I must say is in its infancy. There is great talent, skill and vision amongst us. People don’t have to go to the big cities to see some of the best work in wood that is available today. We hope to make ourselves known to our friends and neighbors on the Palouse, and to draw people from further away who will come here for the variety and beauty we have to offer as a group of artists and as a region of Washington state.”

Indeed, the pieces in the show range from purely sculptural works to those that are functional…such as furniture, turned bowls and artfully crafted wooden spoons.