ter Institute of Technology) where I
received my design degree in 1981. I
took classes at the School for American
Craft where Wendell used to teach, but
he had since started his own school
and the whispers of him were intriguing. This was the time before Google,
so I didn’t know what he was all about.
And boy, was my life about to change.
I found and walked into his studio in
Scottsville, just south of Rochester, New
York, and asked if the chopper gun was
for sale. As I looked around, the shop
was buzzing with activity and my eyes
grew very wide. All sorts of wonderful
shapes were being created by many fine
craftsmen. I was excited by all the energy. We concluded our deal, I loaded
up the equipment and I was off.
But I found myself drawn back,
finding excuses to return to the shop
like I was a 13-year-old walking by a
girl’s house that I fancied seven times
a day. Wendell and his team always
welcomed and engaged me, showing
what they were working on, and better
yet, how it was made.
One day, I was pointed upstairs to
his private gallery, which used to be his
living room, when Wendell and Nancy
lived there amongst the saw dust,
debris and creativity. This was now
his private gallery space where pieces
could be properly lit and viewed. For
me, this was like walking into some
Dali / Picasso-esque LSD dream
heaven of sculptural furniture unlike
anything I had ever seen before.
By then, I was pursuing my own
art furniture sculpture career, and I
hadn’t been exposed to anyone else
doing work in this genre. As I walked
around, I noticed three dimensional,
“wavy” wood that intoxicated me. The
rare Curly Redwood was smooth and
shimmering with chatoyance (a term
I didn’t know at the time). WOW!
WHOA! OOOOOHHH… I had to
caress it and at that instant in time I
knew I needed to learn everything I
Wendell’s fiberglass Molar chairs.
For his fiberglass pieces, a mold would be taken from a full-sized carved foam model, fiberglass
parts made and finished with a candy high-gloss hot rod finish. He would typically make an
edition of ten and some artist proofs that might vary slightly. Then the mold is destroyed.