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Robert Patterson
My visual roots are in the flat arts: drawing, painting, etc. My academic time was spent in art
departments, where I learned to be critical and demanding of my production. My early family
was rife with woodworkers and their particular processes, and over the years the two
concerns (wood and paper) gradually merged into this recent series of wood objects.
This series of objects will go where it goes, and the only way to make that happen is to
continue to be an irritant to the process, make decisions that push the object slightly away
from safety, and work until they land.
Full Statement

Media:  Wood

My wood objects take as their starting point traditional shaker boxes and trays. The
objects borrow the "joinery" method mentioned in the earliest documentation of
shaker work, while my finishing procedures are skewed to allow for extensive surface
modification. I also maintain the general shaping of the shaker objects, ovals and
rounds, as they are very stable and involve a minimum of joints. The oval and round
shapes are visually self evident, and are kind to the hand.
My use of the terms "box" and "tray" are a matter of convenience rather than a
statement of usefulness. To a large extent, my treatment of the form precludes a good
bit of their implied utility.
In most cases, construction of these objects occurs in two distinct stages, construction
and finishing.
The flat parts and the bent parts progress at their own rate, with the bent rims (again, a
term of convenience) requiring the cutting of the fingers and the subsequent bending
to final form. The wood is boiled and bent around forms, with the fingers being
secured with copper tacks. The rims are then dried on the forms for a few days to
secure their shape. Concurrently, the oval or circular flat pieces are generally cut to
shape. By far, the greater amount of work goes into the preparation of and execution
of the flat surface treatment. Once the surface is ready for work, scoring occurs,
followed by dyes, stains, paint, ink, and other clear or tinted resins.
When the flat shapes are ready to be joined to the bent forms, they are fitted to be
friction tight, and secured by small wood pegs from the outside of the band. At this
point, final finishing occurs, and is entirely dependent on the materials used in the
objects. For the most part, the majority of objects are finished with oil/varnish mixes,
hand applied and hand rubbed for final surface.
In every case, the core material is wood. I mill my own bands, and use veneered stock
for the flat pieces (for stability reasons)(solid wood over a minimal size warps and
shrinks/expands at an alarming rate). In many cases, I make my own veneered stock,
recently including some metal sheeting, leather, and laminated paper. That said, I am
not a wood snob. The contributions that common woods make to my objects are of no
less interest than exotic varieties. While I try to control everything I can in the
construction of these objects, the final outcome is a result of countless random
occurrences and decisions.
The "titles" of these pieces are only notes for my own catalogue, and aren't useful for
anything except my own reference. They could all be untitled, but that would quickly
become unwieldy.