“I have always felt compelled to create,” stresses Andrew Wilson, who will participate in his first Chatham Studio Tour the first two weekends in December. “It gives me energy to create objects for aesthetic and functional use.” This desire came early. When he was a student at Chatham’s Northwood High, Andrew accessorized with macramé and began to practice photography. Wooden art is now the center of his creative life in his nature-surrounded home and studio on Mockernut Rd.
“In 2012, I created a spiral earring for my future wife out of unique fungus-stained wood,” he recalls. “It was only a single earring, and it became a symbol of strength and confidence for her, as well as a conversation starter. I then became interested in sharing this with others”. Wilson now creates unique nature- inspired wall art and jewelry from wood that he finds in Chatham’s rural environs. “I like to frame my work by burning the wood, creating a contrasting texture” he explains. “I have taken my burning theme to a new level with the use of a Lichtenberg figure wood burner, a device that passes high-voltage electricity through the wood, creating branching, tree-like patterns as the electricity searches for the most conductive path.”
Andrew’s appreciation for nature is also deep seated. He studied biology at UNC Asheville, and took classes in Sustainable Agriculture at Central Carolina Community College. He worked for a while on an organic farm and at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. He did a variety of chores for well-known potter Mark Hewitt and Rita Baldwin, both Chatham Artists Guild members.
Andrew has a “day job” as a massage therapist, having studied at Body Therapy Institute. He practices at Back Solutions Chiropractic Center between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill. “I have always wanted to earn my living making art,” he emphasizes. He explored photography, but it was his experiments with wood that paved his way to a successful creative life. “I have developed techniques to control the unpredictable burning process in order to create specific images, which has motivated me to design larger wall art,” Andrew explains. “I try to incorporate the wood grain into each piece, and adding acrylic paints increases the depth and warmth of the wood-burnings. The electricity burns channels in the wood, creating relief, resulting in unique pieces of art.”
Andrew’s jewelry sells for $15 to $50 and his wall art for $30 to $1000. It is available online at www.radiantEarthArt.com. He hopes that people who visit his studio during the Tour will feel his enthusiasm for the natural world, and find a piece of jewelry that speaks to them and provides confidence and strength. Stop by to see how Lightning + Wood = truly unique art.
A must stop — This work is like no other.