It was a privilege and a challenge to accept the invitation from Ethan Lasser of the Chipstone Foundation to make work for this show. The brief was to make a piece of work using just one tool. The show opens this week at Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA.
The participating artists were asked to make a short film to reflect upon or discuss how they engaged with the project. The films are shown alongside the works, mine can be seen here:
There was encouragement to make work within the bounds of our usual disciplines. For a studio furniture maker to work with one tool is quite a challenge, it is a field that has developed innumerable specialised tools and devices to control and refine its usual material – wood. The task then was to reverse a couple of hundred years or so of specialisation to redacted generalisation. I adapted a disposable contractor’s saw, a tool often at hand in the basements and sheds of people other than cabinet-makers. This was re-made to split, saw, scrape, shave and shear. The resulting work was as much a result of the tool coming together with the material (a single offcut of oak) than me imparting my will upon either. A discernible shift in the dynamic between tool, material and worker emerged. I chose to work on an extension to my ongoing series, In Our Houses, a project partly born of using a reduced toolkit.