Moab Utah artists. Moab is home to many
local artists and nationally known artists. These talented
people work in a range of mediums from visual arts through
literary to musical. Each month Moab Happenings features one
of our talented local Moab artists.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH - March 2002
Carl Zytowski: Fine Woodworking
by Sydney Francis
artists lifes work can be accurately distilled
to 750 words. I generally favor one aspect of the artists
work for Artist of the Month, as opposed to trying
to scantily cover an entire artistic oeuvre. In Carl Zytowskis
case, I am focusing on his current fine furniture and what
goes into the craftsmanship, detail and finish of such works
Zytowski has known since high school that he was interested
in pursuing the arts by profession. He took a large variety
of art classes and decided to become a photographer. After
attending the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, Zytowski
became disenchanted with the world of photography. His next
artistic pursuit was drafting, which appealed to his desire
to work in an artistic medium that combined art and science,
until it became clear that drafting did not include the hands
on creation of his ideas and designs. He took up welding
for a time, but knew steel was not his ideal medium. And then
he moved on to making wines in California and Australia.
1994, Zytowski discovered a passion and interest in fine woodworking,
but he was unclear about how to achieve the training and education
it would take to become a master woodworker. He moved to Seattle
and took up an apprenticeship with a fine furniture maker.
After that he worked as an antique furniture restorer.
In 1997 Zytowski moved to Moab where he continued to research
the art of fine woodworking and where he might go to gather
the necessary skills. In 1999, he was accepted to the Fine
Woodworking Program at College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg,
CA. It had taken him three years of applying to the very exclusive
and prestigious Fine Woodworking Program, which includes all
of 23 students per year. The prestige of the program is contingent
upon its rigorous, individualized, and hands on
education under the careful tutelage of well-known master
woodworkers, like James Krenov. James Krenov is internationally
recognized for his singular style, innovation and craftsmanship
in fine furniture building.
the Fine Woodworking Program, Zytowski learned all about wood
and how it can be specially cut, refined, and finished to
display unique textures and patterns to be integrated into
the composition of a piece of furniture. He learned about
woodworking tools by crafting his own hand made tools. And
he learned how to design and execute fine furniture, expressing
artistry and craftsmanship in a unique and personal style.
The wood in each individual piece of Zytowskis work
is hand selected and specially cut to create harmony in the
overall piece of furniture. The unique character of the wood,
its pattern and texture, is integrated into the overall design
and composition. This gives his furniture uniformity and balance
that is appreciated by but not immediate to the untrained
eye. In addition, every piece of furniture is one of a kind.
For example, Cabinet Etrange, a combination of teak, figured
bigleaf maple and wenge, integrates matching door panels,
which evoke the flow of the overall piece. The graceful curvature
of the frame follows the pattern of the wood on the door panels.
The deepening color towards the base gives the impression
handcrafted to match drawer pulls conform to and enhance the
design of the cabinet, rather than detract from its presence.
Down to every minute detail, Zytowski has fashioned Cabinet
Etrange with acute attention and craftsmanship. It is difficult
to see the exactness of the fine craftsmanship from the picture.
The precision of Zytowskis furniture is best experienced
first hand. Fine woodwork is a sensual art and can best be
appreciated using several senses. The beauty of the woods,
its colors, patterns, textures, and composition appeal to
the eyes. Its suppleness and refined polish appeals to the
sense of touch. And the intense fragrance of the woods, each
with a distinctive aroma, for example the scent of Spanish
Cedar in the case of the Barnsley Dresser, appeals
to our most primitive and profound sense, the sense of smell.
In fine furniture building Zytowski has found an ideal medium.
It calls to his desire to create art that combines art and
science in a symbiotic relationship. It is a hands on
craft (and the wood, itself, feels good to the touch). And
finally, and perhaps most importantly, it beckons to his desire
to create and master perfection. There are so
many details to his work, such as the dovetail joints, the
hand cut pieces of wood, the fine curvature of the surfaces,
the hours of time that go into planing each piece for exquisitely
refined suppleness, and the creation of a work around the
character of individual pieces of wood. To create such subtly
harmonious pieces of furniture requires such rigorous attention
to detail, method and meticulous craftsmanship that Zytowskis
inner perfectionist cannot help but be satisfied and stimulated.
As a graduate of the Fine Woodworking Program, Zytowski moved
back to Moab. He has recently established his own business
Zytowski Fine Woodworking, 259-1792, which offers the
finest functional art crafted by hand.
His newest work is on display at Perpendicular to the Wind
Gallery, 37 E. Center St, 259-0088. I encourage you to see,
feel and smell for yourself the incredibly refined craftsmanship,
quality, and time which goes into each unique piece of furniture.