Monday, March 10, 2014
Niels Madsen: Turning Wood to Art at MadWood Turnery
Discovery: Niels discovered wood turning not quite by accident, but also not quite by design. On a trip to Scandinavia to visit family in Denmark and Norway, Niels spent time with his uncle, who is a masterful wood turner. Niels was drawn to the art form. Niels had been a professional carpenter and his father was a hobbyist wood turner, so it just seems natural that Niels would discover wood turning as if by chance.
Turning as Art: But, it's much more than a business to Niels. Every piece Niels creates is the result of a creative process. It all starts with a block of wood. Niels starts turning without a specific plan in mind, sometimes just circling his studio and home until inspiration hits.
The Show Team: Niels sells his work mostly at art shows. Niels and Allison attend 9 - 10 shows per year, with each show requiring lots of prep time and inventory to take along. It seems almost a herculean effort, packing the art, display cases, etc, to get his collection to a show for proper showing. Then, there's the pricing for the unique items, and Niels jokes they employ the "Allison Method" of pricing (but I won't reveal the secret). The two make a remarkable team.
Beauty and Function: Another challenge for Niels is the custom order. Everyone's taste is so different, and Niels is a perfectionist and his own worst critic, wanting every piece fine tuned to the best of his ability. All the pieces I saw were remarkably beautiful in function and to the eye. There was the ice cream scoop with the gorgeous wooden handle that had such a balanced weight I just knew it would cut through ice cream like butter. The beautiful bowls and ornaments and razors.
Team Madsen: Niels and Allison also share a love for the sea. They grew up in Astoria and even dated in high school. After previous marriages, they reunited in 1995. They enjoy spending time together clam digging and searching for shells on the beach. It was a treat to sit down and speak with both of them and feel their warmth.
To learn more about MadWood Turnery and Niels' art, check out the website at www.madwoodturnery.com. Or even better, go to one of their next shows.
You can find the schedule here: http://www.madwoodturnery.com/#!events/c17h8.