|John Bryan has been creating special things in wood for over three decades. His career began while he studied woodworking and furniture design intensively in college at UNH while earning a degree in Environmental Conservation and Design. After winning a prestigious international student design competition he opened his doors in Maine in 1978 designing and building custom furniture. Four years later, a carved mantel commission set him on the path he has been on since. He has earned a national reputation for creating excellence in his fresh and unique approach to this age old art form.|
Carving wood certainly is an interesting way to spend a life in today's world. Even more so when this "over-50 something" weighs what digital technology has brought to our finger tips. Bryan says "I go to work each day carving wood in a centuries old tradition using chisels that were made for me over 200 years ago. Yet my second most important tool is my Mac computer , ramped up with technological marvels, which is my conduit to the rest of the world. It's provided opportunities to work with people who I have never spoken with on the phone, and to show my work to the world via cyberville. It can be confusing now and then as to which era gets my allegiance. Suffice it to say I am happiest in my studio, however this site is critical in it's task of leading you towards me."
"Wood is a challenging medium in so many ways. One can be successful only by obeying it's inherent rules of engagement. A familiar and strong sense of caution still presents itself at the start of each piece, even after so many years of experience, no matter how much forethought has been put into it. It's the nature of wood. Success will be on its terms."
"The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in exceeding original expectations is substantial. Few things can match the aura and soul of a masterfully worked piece of wood, carved or not. Reaching the top end of expectations is the goal. It's a lot of hard work, often risky, getting there. It's like having an important audition everyday. The long hours from start to finish are inescapable. The journey always memorable. The meditative states are priceless."
"There is a meaningful story behind each piece. Many of the works shown here evidence the timeless results reaped from the collaboration between artist and client. One thing that is unique to the process is one has to be willing to invest a little of themselves in order to commission a woodcarving. Time has become so precious that it is easy to shy away from anything that smells of extra commitment when already feeling stretched to the max. But like many other pursuits, the results always seem to be in line with the commitment made at the onset. I've been very fortunate thus far to find people who like the concept that part of their legacy will be an original Bryan carving."
"When I started carving decades ago I had an inkling that before the end of my time those who worked with their hands artfully, and were good at what they did, would become the exceptions, not the rules. I still feel that way. It hasn't become any easier as the expectations of my own performance have risen as the economy continues to morph into something different. It has become more and more challenging to live the simple meaningful life of a sculptor. But this has been a remarkable path of self-discovery and an adventurous way to course through life. I'm blessed to have lived my life like this."