Early in my career, I had a bit of experience doing ornamental ironwork, so I set up to do tables with iron bases
and beautifully figured slabs of wood as tops. I busily went about breaking rules! My studio was a one car garage
and I soon found that fire and sparks in a wood shop was not a well thought out idea so I shelved the iron work. I
also loved glass work but again, not the best idea around wood chips. I wanted to create beautifully figured wood
and metal objects with a perfect glass look but following the basic rules limited me. Now I had to start making new
rules to accomplish it. My work's a culmination of years of experimenting with different mediums, developing
finishes, creating new techniques and understanding the properties of many species of wood and how to best dry and
utilize i t for maximum beauty. My work is deliberate. I follow rules, and when they limit me I find a way to
implement new ones.
Here is the connection I try to make with through my artwork. My work is the spirit of who I am. I grew up in
Alaska (before it was a state). It was wild and wonderful and I had the freedom to roam as I pleased. I saw the
synergy within the forest and animals. I've spent 8 plus years alone in the arctic, living, learning and gaining an
understanding of how everything works together to make the whole system work. I spent another 15 years working
in bush camps, mining, prospecting, logging and observing and learning the simple rules of nature. Now, what has all
this got to do with my work? The short answer is everything! I want my art to “connect” that experience, emotion and
wonderment to the rest of my world.
Every bit of figure in a tree comes from some kind of hardship. It might have been a lightning strike, an insect
attack, a drought or just a struggle to find its spot of earth and claim the sunlight that falls there. From the outside we
may call these struggles, blemishes or flaws compared to the young, straight and healthy trees, but the truth is, it’s what
makes up their character, beauty and desirability. Man, like the tree, will struggle with hardship, disease, and adversity
but the scars and flaws will only add to the beauty of his character, inside, where it counts.
I guess you could say that my work is an effort to have others see and feel the perfection and beauty that is all
around us in all things, even in the old, scarred and seemingly unvalued. My use of trees that have been left to
the forest, or the antler discarded on the ground by the moose, to the reclaimed metals I use for inlay are about paying
respect to the
beautiful world around me. I take the flawed, blemished and discarded and try to make it into the most beautiful, perfect
object that’s in my ability to produce..
|Welcome to Robert Cutler's
Excellence in Fine Woodworking