John McAbery lives and works on a remote and rugged stretch of the northwest coast. His home is a small handmade cabin without electricity or telephone. His workspace is a small table with a vise attached, a few hand tools and nothing else. “Simplicity and serenity are important to me. Power tools and telephones are incompatible with my style of living.”
John’s sculptures, however, are anything but simple. His free flowing creations are all carved by hand from solid blocks of windfall California bay laurel, sometimes weighing over 100 pounds. The finished sculptures can weigh as little as 4 ounces. “I enjoy working with bay laurel. It is a fast growing native hardwood, both tough and flexible, with a tightly interlocking grain. The colors in the wood move independently of the grain, so I never know exactly how this will influence the finished piece.” Out of respect for the environment, John only uses aged logs from trees that have fallen naturally. John and his partner, Gretchen Bunker, also grow and plant native trees in the local watershed.
The beauty and power of John’s natural surroundings inspire many of his designs. “The coast is alive, full of magic, music and motion. Some of that is bound to show up in my work.” John’s peaceful lifestyle in such a pristine setting and his passion for carving are an inspiration to many.
For more go to his website johnmcaberywoodsculptures.com