Woodworking Students Create “Colossus and the Bad Wood Show" at Shelburne Art Center

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Five students, past and present, at Burlington College, are creating the new out of the old and free at the Shelburne Art Center, 64 Harbor Road, in Shelburne village. Called Colossus and the Bad Wood Show, the event will be held Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The public is invited to participate.

Four of the five students are graduates of Burlington College’s Craftsmanship and Design program at the Vermont Woodworking School in Fairfax, where master craftsmen teach the intricacies of fine wood craftsmanship and design.

The brainchild of Zack Ogden, artist-in-residence at the Center’s wood shop, the project brought the five woodworkers together recently to spend a day creating a sculpture out of scrap wood.  The idea having taken wing, now the woodworkers will come together again to create another sculpture, with the assistance of attendees. 

Ogden, a woodworker, carpenter, artist, former participant in Vermont Woodworking School’s Immersion Program, was on a job site this summer which yielded a huge pile of scraps. “Normally they go to the dump or possibly to the McNeil plant,” he said. “I was talking to a friend who said he had no means for creative expression and I thought it would be a good idea to invite a bunch of friends here to do something.” Though it didn’t work out the first time, the idea reemerged and was a grand success.

The show was the outgrowth of a day spent away from the rigors of regimented work for the artists. “Sometimes, as fine woodworkers, we focus so much on the details that we lose the love of doing it,” said Rob Palmer, an award-winning student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program in Craftsmanship and Design. “[Zack] wanted to break out of that and revisit the thrill of building something.”

Echoing that statement, Ogden said, “There’s not much spontaneity in doing woodworking as things are thought out and materials are expensive. The idea was pretty much to have a show based around having fun,” he said; “instant gratification!”

Collecting scrap material from construction sites and letting loose of craftsmanship, Ogden said, they ended up with five individual sculptures, which will be on display in the Fish Bowl Gallery at Shelburne Art Center.

“It was awesome!” Palmer said. “We took free materials—two-by-fours, plywood, scraps—and built stuff; built what we could in a day.”

The artisans also include Rachel Brydolf-Horwitz, currently a student at Burlington College in the Craftsmanship and Design program at the Vermont Woodworking School; and Pat Ford and Kevin Coughlin, recent graduates of the same program.

 “We had a lot of wood left over,” Palmer said, “ so we’re going to get there early and start a free-form sculpture using those materials and encourage people to add to it to make a crazy, free-form, far-out-there wood sculpture.”

“We’ll start it and allow other people to add on and it’ll be just one big kind of interactive sculpture,” Ogden said.

 “Who knows what it will be,” Palmer said, “because people will add their own ideas. I thought this was going to be just us getting together for a day and it’s turned into this big show– it’s great!” 

Colossus and the Bad Wood Show features work by five woodworking school students at the Shelburne Art Center on Friday, Nov. 4, 6-9 p.m.