Author: Terry Martin
Published by: Linden Publishing Inc
Being told to 'be more creative’ is not really very helpful advice. How can you just open that mental channel? Coming up with new ideas, let alone developing a signature style, is a mission that leaves many makers feeling inadequate.
Terry Martin is not someone who is ever short of an idea, not in conversation, not when he writes, and not in regards to the objects he turns, carves and ornaments.
Humour, irony, metaphor and all kinds of commentary are present in many of his works. Often he gets a message across by challenging the viewer. For example, how can pieces featured in his new book such as Impossibowl, Huon Dream and Butterfly Vessel be created on a lathe? What is he saying with A Matching Pair of Goblets – two forms that are each half-complete, half-weathered fencepost? By challenging a concept there is now something to think about and be amused by.
Contrasting surfaces and textures are another hallmark of Terry Martin’s work. Smooth with textured or charred, spherical with straight-sided or natural-edged are some of frequently used combinations he uses in his work.
The origin of his main material, wood, is never forgotten. Bark inclusions, waney edges and outer burl surfaces are often left on turned vessels and sculptures. More than that, carved from burls in direct reference, his Trees are just that. Heart of the Tree takes this one step further with piercings that mimic the microscopic structure of wood.
The Creative Woodturner presents the works mentioned above and others as examples of how to think creatively when designing and making in wood. Each chapter shows how techniques and preconceptions can always be challenged. Turned objects don’t need to be completely round. Surfaces don’t need to be all of the same colour or texture. Lines don’t need to be symmetrical, straight or even similar. Ideas and feelings can be referenced and explored. And, shows the author, you can collaborate with other people to share and build on experiences and skills.
Through a visual exploration of the making of 16 of his pieces Terry Martin explains his own process for generating ideas and shows that by questioning the ‘rules’ of technique and design, or taking small departures, one can find interesting creative directions.
While interesting techniques are explained, there is much more for an artist to be stimulated by in this book, especially those who feel they lack creativity. Just as techniques can be practised so can design skills and imaginative thought processes.
As well as being an artist and a curator, Terry Martin is a widely published author of books and articles. Since 1993 he has also written many articles for Australian Wood Review. His profile appears here on our website.