David Bennett began his career in woodcarving while studying for his bachelor of fine arts degree at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1976 with a concentration in furniture design and sculpture. The years after graduating from Edinboro were spent in the fields of boat building and sail making. In 1986, he established Falls Run Woodcarving, primarily as a custom carving shop and woodcarving school. The school was based on principles and techniques he had developed for his maritime relief carvings. The classes spawned a how-to videotape and later a supplemental book that are still distributed today.
In 1991, Bennett along with his student Rich Reimers began experimenting with new carving tool designs and in 1993 David successfully launched what became the Flexcut Tool Co. Inc., for manufacturing and marketing these innovative new tools, worldwide. David has exhibited and demonstrated internationally. In 2005, after a 15-year hiatus from carving, he has redefined his style and subject matter, challenging the way we perceive wood as an artistic media.
The series “OSV” (Oriented Strand Vessel), are vessels composed of wood carving chips, usually generated as random waste in a subtractive sculpture. These chips, once considered negative space, form a positive byproduct for an intuitive jigsaw puzzle. The chips are assembled one at a time, orienting the fibers to maximize strength and minimize wall thickness (Approx. 1/8″). This eliminates the weakness’ of end grain as in solid wood structures. Unconventional holloware can be formed previously foreign to wood. Coated with an epoxy resin on the inside, the technique yields an extraordinary strength to weight ratio, is waterproof and uses precious woods economically.
The series “Growth Habits” is both an observation and exploration of how we perceive the intrinsic value of wood as an artistic medium. They are made from common pieces of wood rescued from the firewood pile. They are carved into organic shapes that suggest some extraordinary circumstance that altered their ordinary growth habit. Once carved, they are faux finished with pigments to represent species that do not exist in nature as their latin titles imply. The intent is to question why we enjoy the qualities of natural grains or similar abstract expressionist motifs created to somehow counterfeit the natural.
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