filed under: art, miniviews, wood, words
we are circling back to some lovely burned wood boxes and frames i featured back in march for today’s miniview, since i loved them so and i think you all did too! these tactile pieces are made by toronto artist tellie finley. i think her collection is so pretty, collectible and timeless, and was curious to know more, so i asked three quick ones…
q: how did you get into this type of craftwork?
a: i got into woodburning as a child with a cheap kid’s woodburning kit and i was horrible at it. almost anything i am good at it seems that i have to fail at the first time, and it isn’t until i pick it up again that it starts to feel right. in a fit of boredom one cold winter i thought longingly of the cheap woodburning pen that used to burn my fingers after a while and, seeking some warmth since my husband refused to turn up the heat, i dug it out and started to burn a design on some scrap wood. then i burned on a blank wood picture frame. then our spice rack. soon my husband was hiding all our wooden items, sure that i was going to brand every piece of wood we own.
although i have graduated from the child’s wood burning pen, this was a recent upgrade and many of my original designs were done with nothing more than that children’s woodburning kit from 1989.
q: what inspires you to create these pieces?
a: i am inspired by anything lasting, timeless. the first (and most popular) piece i created was the french script box, which uses the text from love letters that are almost 900 years old. i love the lasting impression the written word can have and i try to create pieces that compliment the age of such.
nature is another thing that inspires me with it’s permanence. to look at an ancient redwood tree and try to imagine how many lifetimes of men it has stood sentinel is quite an experience. i think that is why i am drawn to wood as a medium, and woodburning as an art. i try to use wood from earth-friendly sources and i feel that i am giving wood a way to live on as art after it’s life as a tree is over. and i can’t deny that i love having my house smell like a permanent campfire.
q: do you have an arts background?
a: i did go to arts school, but it was for performing arts. i learned vocal, violin and drama for nine years, but i still think it was relevent as it meant i was surrounded by creativity. i don’t think being classically trained in a particular art is a requisite for being an artist, however.
every artistic technique i have ever learned was from the internet. a lot of great advice and some really bad advice all cobbled together to form the core of my “formal” training. a little success and a lot of failure has sufficed for my apprenticeship. time, more than formal instruction, made me the artist i am today. my official advice to beginners is simple: just keep doing it until you don’t suck at it anymore.
thank you tellie!