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Fine Craft Collective

Dick Zawacki

After more than 30 years learning the art of woodcarving, I find that my favorite subjects are realistic animals and birds, human faces, and chip carved items.  My preferred carving woods are native Minnesota butternut and basswood. 

About 10 years ago, I began pursuing a long-held interest in woodturning and found a new outlet for my creativity.  I often use wood from local, storm damaged trees or those that are removed from a yard.  It is very gratifying to transform something that would have been discarded into something useful that pleases the eye.  Most of my turnings are meant to be functional and used in everyday life; thus they are all completed using food-safe finishes.

Woodcarving and woodturning have changed how I relate to things in everyday life.  I now observe and perceive things instead of just “seeing” them.  The differences in people’s facial features or the individual differences in a species of an animal or bird provide creative inspiration.  I look for forms and proportions in objects, trying to determine why they are pleasing to the eye.
As I create a new piece, I enjoy seeing the beauty of the wood grain emerge and how light plays off of each surface to enhance the object as it progresses to its final form.  I find that my carving and turning sessions are a great way to turn 15 minutes into 3 hours.  Working with wood creates a certain Zen that I find in no other activity.