Thursday, September 16, 2010
Philip Savage Fundy Gardener Member
"I would call my style contemporary organic - the shapes that nature presents and the way the elements shape things, or the structure of plants and seeds, and the way they grow, occasionally throwing in some man-made angles to keep it grounded."Having some right angles or a flat top on a coffee table brings back that aspect that we recognize as human and comforting in some ways, but also let's us get closer to nature and the true forms that always existed before people started shaping everything."Savage began his relationship with wood when he was a 10-year-old boy growing up on the family farm called Straw Flower Ridge. Seeing his interest in carving, his parents bought him a few rudimentary tools and later enrolled him with the KV Carvers Club.
"I was like the only kid there. These guys were like retired, but they taught me a lot."In his teen years, he abandoned this interest, giving into the usual teenage "temptations, impatience and all that." But in his early 20s, he resumed carving - a way to fill the long winters unemployed as a landscape gardener."I had these winters to kill and I just started exploring it more as a sculptural medium."Last fall, he had his first exhibition at the Saint John Arts Centre."I got tonnes of positive feedback from people," he said, "so I decided to try this and give it a go and it's been going really well."He's recently completed a piece for the University of Dalhousie's medical school, and this past February, the Town of Quispamsis commissioned him to create gifts for the corporate sponsors of the Q-Plex - a commission that was a turning point for Savage's new business."That's when I thought I could make it viable," he said.While the business is still in its infancy, Savage is optimistic about its potential. In July, he toured across Ontario after showcasing his talent as a guest of the National Capital Commission on Canada Day.It was there that he realized there are fewer artists and craftspeople working in wood - afraid, he said, of not being able to compete with cheap furniture factories."There's a few people and they seem to be doing really well, but I got excited because I saw this niche of bringing wood back into people's homes and lives," he said. "I think there is great potential for it."
That's why he's looking to the future and his dream of a grove of trees. While he may expand into some of the other elemental materials - such as metal and stone - he wants to celebrate "the shape and unique qualities of wood both in sculpture and furniture design," he said.For that reason, he's considering moving to a more rural setting where he can grow his future forest, set up shop, use a chainsaw, and "make more noise without bothering the neighbours."Already, he's tending to an assortment of seedlings, which he wants to shape and train with curves and strengths."Then they could be worked into high-end sculptural furniture because not only were they shaped by tools but nature shaped them. So I'm pretty excited about that. But that will take 20 to 25 years," he said. "It's my long-term investment."
For more information, visit www.savagesculpture.com.