There's another side to woodworking beyond the kiln-dried-flat-and-square that we find in modern furniture making. Before the kiln and before the sawmill is the beginning of green woodworking, when the wood is still wet. From this arises common objects like joined furniture and chairs, but also bolws, spoons, kuksas, shrink pots, and so much more; each object a reflection of the material it's made from and bearing the facets and textures of the tools used to create it.
Dave Fisher, who joins us at this year's Early American Artisans Fair, is a Pennsylvania bowl carver who is well-known in the green woodworking field. His style is recognizable as his own and is the result of over twenty years of learning, listening, and doing.
What is your skill/craft?
I carve wood, especially green wood into bowls, spoons, and containers. I also specialize in carved lettering.
How long have you been doing this?
I've been woodcarving for 25 years, greenwood carving for 15.
How did you get started?
I got started by reading books, digging into wood and continuing to explore.
What motivates you and pushes you forward in your craft?
I'm motivated by the joy and flow provided by the process itself as well as by the adventure of exploring new design possibilities. There's always more to learn and the moments of discovery are magical moments.
Who and what have been the biggest influences in your work?
Although the Swedish carving tradition has probably had the biggest influence on most of my work, I've been influenced by all sorts of makers and objects. Beautiful inspiration is all around us every day. I just try to pay attention and let it float around in my head and/or on paper.
What's your favorite project you've completed?
My favorite projects are the various toys and things I carved for my kids as they grew up.
To what degree do you employee traditional techniques and tools and do more modern processes or tools play a role in your work?
I use traditional edge tools exclusively, other than a chain saw for cutting whole logs to length and such. The axe, adze, gouges, drawknife, etc. are simply the most efficient way to achieve the designs I'm making, and they're a joy to use. I suppose a band saw could help with some of the designs, but I don't have one, which is fine with me at this point. I spend about 10% of my time removing 90% of the material and 90% of my time removing the final 10%. You can remove a lot of material quickly by swinging sharp tools.
You can find Dave's work online at davidffisher.com, but be sure to check out Fine Woodworking's brief interview here.
The Early American Artisans Fair is November 1 - 2, 2019 at Harvest Ridge Event Center in Millersburg, OH. We are expecting artisans who practice in the following:
Also happening on the grounds at Harvest Ridge the same weekend is another event - Earlier Times Antiques and Folk Art Show. Located in a neighboring building, Earlier Times vendors bring with them a collection of antique and primitive furniture and related items. The grounds at Harvest Ridge will offer visitors a great opportunity to explore finely crafted objects from pre-industrial through modern times.