April Feature Artist
Stephen Gleasner is a published writer, veteran woodturner, long distance cyclist and self proclaimed mad-man with over 25 years of experience in all four. Currently, he specializes in the carved and dyed wall pieces he calls “Plyscapes” and turned vessels that explore the patterning possibilities of Baltic Birch plywood. This material is imported from Finland and used in aeronautical applications. Its veneers are all “clear”, meaning free from knots and imperfections that may weaken the wood, and very thin. He uses a lathe for his vessels, and carves with hand tools to create the highly unusual, stunning plyscapes. He applies German dyes to the work when the actual constructing is done. This is a risky process that can quickly go wrong. No one else in the world – as far as we can find – has ever attempted this technique. Stephen considers his “tools” artistic implements as opposed to utilitarian items in his work – like paintbrushes to a painter.
Stephen considers his lathe much less a power tool and much more an artistic implement in his work. He literally sculpts into the wood until something resembling a horizon or landscape emerges. This may or may not happen, and whether a finished piece will result in the effort depends on the luck of the take. Typically there is about a 1/8″ relief in the carving, which is far greater than the thickness of the individual layers of wood that are laminated together. He then uses German dyes, as opposed to stain or paint, to create the color. He very carefully applies and removes the color until he achieves the desired result, sometimes mixing cocktails of several colors. This is a scary process that can make or break the piece. Finally, when all of the stars are aligned and a work of art has been completed, he makes his frames with traditional furniture making skills – by hand- to match. Each piece is entirely unique.
Stephen Gleasner is now a full time Maine artist and writer. He has been a faculty member of the acclaimed Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockland, Maine since 2004. He has been featured in many publications nationally, including the renowned Robb Report and Luxury Home Magazines, and a full segment on the television program Made in Maine.
“There are layers in life. There are layers in plywood. Cutting through the layers in just the right way, results in a life worth living, or a piece of artwork worth owning.”
Works of art are available for purchase by contacting Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org
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