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Entries in advanced veneering (1)

Thursday
Jul052012

Scott Grove

Awed by a Tutankhamen exhibit in New York City many years ago, Scott now incorporates elements of the Boy King's artifacts into pieces like this one, from the Gem series. The wood is inlaid with sterling silver, malachite, mother-of-pearl, onyx, lapis, goldstone, and other elements that reflect the color pallette of the famous pharaoh's tomb. The "fabric" draped over the piece is actually made of wood, carved from a solid piece of sycamore.A giant metal earth suspended above a corporate lobby. Shiny black and green abstract figures. And a table fit for a pharaoh.

This sculptor and furniture maker's studio is perhaps the only place these things might ever coexist.

King Tutankhamen would approve. Nearly 40 years ago, an exhibit of artifacts from the pharaoh's tomb so captivated Scott that he incorporated those ornate details into his work.

In his Gems collection, for instance, a trompe l'oeil (or “trick of the eye”) detail makes the wood veneer surface look as if it's been pulled back to reveal hidden treasures and intricate patterns underneath.

“I push veneering to new limits,” says the 2010 Grand Prize winner of the International Veneer Tech Craftsman Challenge.

For 36 years, this Rochester artist has been building treasures large and small out of wood, precious metal, glass, and gemstones. Originally from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., Scott now lives on the banks of the Genesee near Rochester Institute of Technology, his alma mater.

ScottThere he earned a degree in environmental design from the School for American Crafts. But the skills that have sustained him as a craftsman have been largely self-taught. In fact, Scott has introduced a few techniques to the field himself. Wrote a book, too.

Over the years, his furniture and art have attracted the likes of Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland, and other corporate clients for whom he's designed fixtures and furnishings. He also has a loyal following among private collectors.

This 54” bench from Scott's “Greenwave” series is made from dyed domestic red oak.His current 2000-square-foot studio is housed in a former post office on Cumberland Street in downtown Rochester. It's also on a much smaller scale than in years past.

“I used to have 10,000 with up to 10 employees,” Scott says. “Recently I scaled way back and for the first time in my life, I am working alone. I bring in help when I need to.”

The space may be new, but he's filled it with 30 years' worth of supplies.

“When I scaled down, I kept the cream of the crop in equipment and supplies,” Scott says.

“Texas Tea”—Carved from poplar with a polychrome finish, the 84-inch-tall totems are inspired by female forms and relationships between them.Those materials include some of the 100 different veneers he displays on his website, from Avidore to Sassafras Ziricote.

Professionally, he seems to have done everything from A to Z as well. He once owned and ran an an architectural fiberglass company. He work with artist Wendell Castle. And he's served on the product development team of Avon, N.Y.-based Robal Glass.

But its veneer where his artistic roots run deepest. And they do run deep.

“I'm a third generation artist, this is all I've ever known,” Scott says.

He's paid it forward to a new crop of artists, too.

“Over the years I have brought in a number of RIT students,” he says. “Taught them everything I know. Most have gone on to their own successful careers. I am very proud of that.”

Though he no longer hires legions of RIT students to work with him on projects, Scott says he's considering hiring a part-time assistant. If you know somebody, send Scott a note.

Scott's next big project?

“Veneering nudes,” he says.

“This latest piece is a culmination of many disciplines that I've worked on for the last 36 years,” says Scott, who also photographs nude figures.

“Working from a cast, my hope is to do an entire human figure, emerging through a sheet or panel.”

Pharaoh would approve.

“Advanced Veneering and Alternative Techniques” (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.) is Scott's 2011 manual for those interested in his craft. It includes techniques he developed himself.

 

See more: scottgrove.com

Say hi: on Facebook

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If you're in the Rochester, N.Y., area, more than 65 pieces of Scott's work are on exhibit through July 26, 2012 at the Arts & Cultural Council Gallery, 277 N. Goodman St. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but to mark the citywide First Friday gallery night, the exhibit is open 5 to 9 p.m. July 6. An artist's reception takes place 4 to 9 p.m. July 12. For details, call (585) 473-4000 or visit ArtsRochester.org.