Monday, August 5, 2013

Makers Part 10

The psychological principle of gestalt maintains that the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts, suggesting the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. My next maker Tate Lowe enacts this process in his beautiful constructions made of wood. You can check out his work on etsy at TateLowe and on his web site and Facebook.

Can you tell me a little about your background?

I grew up in a military family traveling across the country and overseas my whole childhood. When I headed out on my own I moved here to DeWitt, Michigan where I met my lovely wife and settled down. I’ve been here for 13 years, married for 10 and now have 2 wonderful kids that keep me on my toes.


What do you make?

I make wooden wall sculptures. I cut and shape pieces of wood into blocks and strips that I then manipulate in various ways. I use paints and stains and even fire to give depth and texture to the wood. These pieces are arranged into a finished piece that becomes a true sum of its parts.
What attracted you to this particular medium? How did you get started? 

Wood has always been something that attracted me. I love how even the medium itself can be beautiful in its grain patterns without any help from human hands. It is something I focus on a lot and I try to emphasize in my work. One of the key factors in me trying my hand at this came from an unlikely source. One evening we had a terrible storm with high winds. In the middle of the night a giant tree branch came crashing down from an old sugar maple and landed on our cars roof, doing some damage to it. After the mess was cleaned up and the car repaired I had a ton of material to play with. It is from that branch that I made a piece that would be my very first Etsy sale. 

How long have you been making?

I have been making seriously for about 3 years now. I always dabbled with woodworking and construction and had a love of art but never ventured out on that limb to put myself and my ideas out in the world before then. But ever since I have started doing this I have had no doubt that this is what I want to do and had been searching for in my life.

How does your practice fit in with your everyday life? Do you have your own studio space and when do you work and where?

My work has become a large part of my life. Sawdust and paint soaked hands have become part of my everyday life. I work whenever I get the inspiration and a project or potential project is never far from my mind. My garage has become my studio space and my cars have been banished to the driveway, as there is just no room for them anymore. 

What are the best and worst aspects about working with this medium? 

The best part of working with wood is versatility I have with it and the options I have at hand. It can be shaped and changed in so many ways with so many tools that I really have only begun to explore it’s potential. And with every species of wood there are different characteristics to exploit and secrets to reveal.The downside to working with wood comes from one of the very things I like about it. It is a living medium. Made with natural fibers than expand and contract with the temperatures and humidity levels it encounters. This can cause some frustration when something I have been working on starts to warp on a humid day. Through experience I have been able to minimize that, but it can still happen from time to time. 
Who or what inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the world around me. Looking at a large field of trees in the spring or autumn makes me think of a color pallet that I want to rush home and make. The same goes for cityscapes of concrete or neon signs.


Do you get creative blocks? If so, how do you deal with it?

I do get creative blocks from time to time. Sometimes I get in a rut where I feel I am just making the same thing. One thing that can help me out is to just get away from it for a while. I go out and play with my kids, or a walk in the woods and stop trying to think of something. It is usually at times like that an idea pops in my head out of nowhere. 

What other mediums would you love to explore?

I would love to and have plans to eventually incorporate metal work into my arsenal. I love the feel of copper and steel mixed with wood. A combo that has been around for centuries. I would love to add a welding torch along side my wood burning torch.

What do you hope to do next with your practice?
I hope to continue to expand my line. There are things I want to do with lathework and other forms of wood shaping. I also hope to start creating more functional art in the near future. Things like tabletops and shelving. 

Thank you Tate! Are you a maker/artist or collector? I would love to hear from you! Don't forget to like my facebook page to keep up with my latest posts and listings.

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