From Matthew Steele -
A few years ago I purchased a house and began building out my own home studio, but it was quickly derailed when I started working on a large scale commission. As a woodworker, the functionality of my studio provided only the bare minimum I needed to complete the commissioned work. It lacked efficiently, organization, power, and lighting. This time in isolation has provided me with the opportunity to give my shop the attention it deserves. In the past several weeks I have built work benches for benchtop tools, added dust collection functionality, run electrical wiring to each tool, and built and installed organization systems for my frequently used tools and materials.
I’ve since started experimenting in the studio and have produced a small series of wall hanging sculptures titled Basalt, made from walnut and 23-gauge nails. The name is a reference to a geological formation called columnar jointing, often seen in basalt volcanic rock. The objects utilize the aesthetic of this phenomena to symbolize this time of energy, ruin, and reformation.
As I built the work, I realized I needed to find a way to document and share this series. Without access to photographers and frustrated by my current method for documentation, I began investigating alternative methods. I moved to my front yard to utilize natural light after I constructed a camera mount that I could attach to a ladder and shoot the work from over-head.
Creating a better work space, having time to develop new ideas, and finding ways to share those ideas are all rewarding pursuits. In the end, having something other than the pandemic to focus on has been the major benefit.