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STEVEN MONROE MARTIN

 has never been able to get out of the woods.  Whether it was spending summers growing up on his grandfather's southern Illinois farm or studying bryology and ethnobotany at Eastern Illinois University, the woods have always brought out the best in him.

 After earning a B.S. and M.S. in Botany he chose to follow his heart back to his grandfather's farm and pursue his art.  Since 1977 he has developed a bandsaw  box technique to create his own style of sculptural yet functional boxes.

The band saw box technique Steven uses begins with a solid cross-section of a log which is cut, shaped, and joined to form a container.  He begins his boxes by collecting logs of native red cedar, sassafras, cherry, hackberry, and black walnut.  A cross-section of the log is cut with the band saw into a freeform and abstract shaped box with one or more functional compartments.  Each piece has a solid back and may have a special mechanism for opening the box's drawers.

His background in botany has influenced the design of his work. Many of the abstract shapes he designs are reminiscent of the plant cell organelles he once studied.

 Steven has participated in many of the nation's best juried craft fairs and art exhibitions and has been recognized with many awards of excellence and merit awards. 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

I would venture to think that many of us do not realize that our coffee table was once alive. After 35 years and thousands of boxes I have come to realize that my most satisfying and successful pieces are the result of a process that begins with that understanding and a personal relationship with the actual tree that becomes the raw material for my boxes.  Because I collect the logs that I work with, I know the environment each grew in before it was bulldozed or blew over in a windstorm. While I work the wood, I think about the living plant the tree once was. Its shape and form, even the smell of the freshly cut wood, all influence the process.  These sensory reminders of the tree and its personal  story provide not only inspiration but purpose as I work the wood and remember the material that was once alive.  When the conditions are right and the communication between myself and the tree is complete, the result is the rebirth of the wood into a work of beauty that moves and flows with new life.  

Watch WSIU’s Expressions
featuring
Steven Martin

Expressions showcases the creative abilities, techniques, and inspirations of regional artists.

 

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