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June/July 2016 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Christopher Kurtz, (A)Typical Windsor Form

Christopher Kurtz, (A)Typical Windsor Form; Photo: Lauren Coleman

As any twin knows, pairs are defined by what they share and – even more interestingly – how they diverge.

Mark Gardner demonstrates how evocative even pared-down pairs can be, each object unavoidably in conversation with the other. Case in point: his 2 Ash Forms. Are they mirroring each other – or does the larger form curve toward the smaller in a gesture of shelter? The North Carolina woodworker lets us decide. 

With his (A)Typical Windsor Form, Christopher Kurtz pays homage to the classic spindle-backed chair, transforming the mundane into the memorable. The Kingston, New York, artist, whose work spans sculpture and furniture, built this piece of steam-bent ash, white oak, and pine, finishing it with milk paint. 

There’s little more elegant than the mirrored form, which suits Lynda Ladwig’s restrained aesthetic. The Colorado ceramist works in porcelain, favoring a muted palette for her sculptural and functional creations, such as this Egg Oil and Vinegar Set

John Eric Byers’ Block Benches are stalwart friends, sturdy companions of hollow-core, stack-laminated maple. The western New York artist’s streamlined forms seem to amplify all other details: the mottled, hand-textured surfaces, the gentle curve of the seats, the negative space binding each bench to the other. 

A couple of years ago, Massachusetts artist Mariko Kusumoto, known for her metal sculpture and jewelry, added fiber to her repertoire, balancing rigid and hard with the alternate universe of soft, light, and flexible. Her Tsumami Zaiku brooches of silk and silver seem to have surfaced from the deepest parts of the ocean. 

Charlottesville, Virginia, textile artist Lotta Helleberg loves nature’s abundance of small details. In her Sumac Study, she coaxes us into contemplation, providing a kind of environmental Rorschach test of eco-printed wool and silk, appliquéd onto natural linen.