About Wood Artist Dale Randles

Wood Artist Dale RandlesIt was in 1980 while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico that English teacher Dale Randles first began creating useful objects from found wood. There the cool, dry, high desert climate hardened juniper and mesquite into gnarled and twisted shapes before it was cut for firewood or to make way for houses and shopping plazas. A stack of juniper firewood provided the raw material for his first creations: boxes and bowls, wooden spoons and spatulas, back scratchers and shoehorns, hair sticks and wooden combs. Every item that he made retained many of the unique characteristics of its parent branch. Over the years that followed he continued making small and functional pieces of wood art, refining his skills in the process. Before long, he had left teaching and was making a living selling what one of his customers, an artist and teacher herself, dubbed "functional organiform wood sculpture."

Dale sold his work in galleries and traveled the craft and art fair circuit for about fifteen years before turning to the internet in 1998 with the creation of artistreewoodart.com. Since 1992, Dale has lived and worked on three and a half forested acres on rural Vashon Island in Puget Sound in the state of Washington.

Now, although much of the wood he uses comes from sustainable yield plantations in Latin America, he continues to work with found wood. Until recently, when he wasn't in his workshop he could be found gathering interesting branches, perhaps from an abandoned orchard or from from a country roadside after a storm. These branches, otherwise destined for the wood stove or the chipper, he stored away for seasoning. Much of the wood he uses today was harvested from roadside, orchard or beach ten, twenty, even thirty years ago. Some of these are species native to the Pacific Northwest (cherry, bigleaf maple, alder, and madrone) and some are the naturalized descendants of trees planted by the area's first settlers.

Today hundreds of these branches wait in a barn to become some of Dale's functional wood sculptures. The examples you see in his web catalog are typical of his work. Whether you purchase an object that is already made or order one made for you, it will be distinctively one of a kind.

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