Lifelong woodcrafter will speak at Art Mob
Asking Tim Tucker to pick his favorite kind of wood is like asking a hummingbird to land on its favorite blossom. There are, he reminds Bold Life, “almost 100,000 species of trees … some of which science knows almost nothing about other than a taxonomic identification.”
And it’s true that Tucker has spent four decades in woodworking, and most of that time based in Western North Carolina, where native hardwoods are legion. But the artist, who uses only reclaimed wood from fallen or displaced trees, doesn’t limit himself to the cherry, walnut, sycamore, “vanishing ash,” and other species of the region — he also has arborists on call in Florida (for monkeypod, rosewood, and camphor) and in the Southwest for figured silver maple, Great Basin figured poplar, and other regional types. With any wood, he looks for a striking grain or rich color that will inform the mood of the finished piece.
The master crafter has traveled nationally and worldwide talking about trees and technique, including teaching at John C. Campbell Folk School. In August, he’ll give what’s being called a “Tim Talk” (a cheeky take on the “TED Talk” concept) at Art Mob Studios & Marketplace, which exclusively represents his work in Hendersonville.
Tucker’s fascination with trees goes beyond aesthetics; he has long been awed by their superior adaptability. The artist spent his formative years in West Texas and remarks, “The ability of trees to thrive — often in the harshest and most varied environments — surpasses that of most animals.” Trees can’t migrate, he points out.
The artist adapted his own cultural landscape about five years ago, when he first began turning pieces on a lathe. He emphasizes that his finishes contain no solvents or heavy metals. “They are both beautiful and food-contact safe — and safe for me to work with, as well.”
Tucker wants his sophisticated bowls, platters, chalices, and other ware to be functional — used not only today and tomorrow, but for multiple generations. Their surfaces are carved, etched, and textured. Some pieces are symmetrical and high-gloss, others rustic-chic and crowned by live-edge drama. All are top-shelf examples of their respective styles. “It must have a shape that is appealing,” states Tucker, who uses the Golden Ratio of proportion as a reference and describes the vessels’ finishes, though natural, as “gallery-level.”
“I like the wood to speak its voice,” he adds, “and my job is to help it. Not to dominate it, but to coax and partner with the wood.” But he can’t resist adding a “surprise detail” on each piece when possible — for instance a pot adorned with an acorn and a turquoise bead.
“If your eyes tell your hands to touch the piece, then I’ve succeeded in helping the wood speak to you.”
Art Mob Studios & Marketplace (124 4th Ave. East, Hendersonville) presents a “Tim Talk” with master woodworker Tim Tucker (endlesscirclestudio.com) on Saturday, Aug. 19, 1-3pm, with wine and cheese. Free. Tucker will offer a “log to bowl” talk about his craft, supplemented by photos and video clips. For more information, call 828-693-4545 or see artmobstudios.com.