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Fine Craft Collective

Dick Zawacki 2020

There is a certain warmth and beauty in wood that has always appealed to me.  Whether it is carved with hand tools or worked with power tools, the unique grain in each piece of wood makes every finished item one-of-a-kind.  My carved pieces are made from northern Minnesota basswood or butternut from the southern part of our state.  My turned pieces almost always start as local, storm damaged trees or trees removed from private property.


Carving has changed how I relate to things in everyday life.  I now observe and perceive the differences in people's facial features or the variations in a species of an animal or bird instead of just “seeing” them.  My carving subjects are often taken from things that I know best in my life.  I find most types and styles of carving enjoyable and I can often apply the process I've learned in one style to others.


Wood turning focuses my efforts on creating a form pleasing to the eye while at the same time highlighting the wood's grain.  Knowing that my turned pieces are usually functional, I try to complete them in a way that is food safe and invites people to pick them up and hold them.


While creating a new piece, I enjoy seeing the beauty of the wood grain emerge and develop to  enhance the piece as it progresses to its final form.  I have had the pleasure of learning from many teachers, but my best lessons come from doing, experimenting, and, yes, making mistakes.  I find that my woodworking sessions are a great way to turn 15 minutes into 3 hours.  There is a certain zen that comes from working with wood that I find nowhere else.


One of these days, when I finally grow up, I will decide on which style or subject suits me best.  Until then, I will just keep learning, trying new ideas, and making more wood chips.