Turned wood vessels.
The question most often asked as people marvel over Galen Carpenter’s work is “Are they wood?” Galen is modest about the wooden vessels he makes in his Sedona workshop. He envisions form, color and wood grain all interacting while making these eye-catching, one-of-a-kind, art pieces. His work has been described as having the formal purity of classical pottery and the sophistication of fine furniture.
Carpenter, a self-taught turner, combines different woods cut into segments and laminated in such a way that the turning process exposes striking geometric patterns. His palette incorporates turquoise, coral, bone, antler, and epoxy, along with domestic and exotic woods.
Although a vessel shape may be repeated, he never duplicates any piece exactly, and he is always devising new forms and wood combinations. Many times he draws his creative inspiration from the colors of the woods, other times the forms themselves. All of his pieces have walls of approximately one-eighth of an inch. He admits to an occasional puncture. Each segment is planned on the drawing board, then precision cut and laminated. It takes a great deal of time to make each segment.
Born in a small Kansas town, Galen spent most of his life in rural areas where quality of workmanship is expected. His belief that each piece is his best effort limits his output to about 120 signed and numbered vessels per year. An elegant synthesis of technical skill, natural beauty, sophisticated design, and Carpenter’s obvious affinity for his medium, has created a demand for the vessels since he first began making them. In the intervening years they have found their way into many prestigious galleries and private collections across the country.