Artist Profile: Ken Wise

As many of you know, we define “fiber” rather broadly at Fiber College and how wonderful that we do! Wood, metal, feathers, glass, silver, beads, and more can be found throughout our magical long weekend in September at the Searsport Shores Ocean Campground.

Ken Wise from Brunswick, Maine joins our teaching community at Fiber College this year just in time to help us to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We are so fortunate to have someone who has been woodworking his entire career — he’ll be teaching an introductory woodcarving class, Hand Carved Wooden Spoons on Sunday afternoon — imagine having a beautiful wooden spoon that you made yourself!  I can’t wait to meet Ken in person; he’s been delightful to get to know through our correspondence online and our conversations by phone. I’d like you to meet Ken and then you can go sign up for his class right here.

Ken carves beautiful wooden utensils and turns bowls that sing

As we celebrate the tenth year of our Fiber College community, tell us about how community plays a part in your life as a fiber artist.

Community is very important to me in my woodworking business.  I learn a lot and really enjoy meeting people at Craft Fairs and galleries to get feedback about what my customers are looking for and what catches their eye.  I also teach workshops in spoon carving, canoe paddle making, and wood turning to aspiring woodworkers.  It is very satisfying to see people learn to create beautiful and useful objects from simple materials.  It is nice to get out of my shop and spend time with interesting folks.

Ken enjoys meeting new friends when he teaches carving

Ken enjoys meeting new friends when he teaches carving

Tell us how you entered into the world of fiber and the fiber arts.

I have worked my whole career as a woodworker, for many as a home builder and carpenter, at times focusing on fine woodworking and cabinetry.  I also have been a part time artist, carving wildlife art and spoons to sell at craft fairs and shops.  In recent years I am working exclusively in my shop to create a line of wooden kitchenware including spoons, ladles, rolling pins, cutting boards, and turned salad bowls. (Be sure to visit Ken’s online gallery at www.kenwisewoodcarver.com)

Remarkable wooden spoons!

Remarkable wooden spoons!

How do you keep your creativity fresh and new?  

To keep my creativity fresh I try to find inspiration in exploring different local woods and designs, and get out into the natural world to be inspired by the trees and animals around us.

Wise_IMG_0732

Ken provides “spoon blanks” from a variety of woods for his students to shape

What does your studio space look like now? What change would you make if you could?

My carving studio is a small building on the shore of Casco Bay near my home.  It gives me a space for my tools and a quiet place to do my work.  I have moved my power tools and machinery to a separate location at a local boatyard where I can efficiently do the big projects. This is the ideal shop arrangement for me.

Who has had the greatest impact on your work as an artist?

My skills and inspiration have come from many years of studying and working with experienced woodcarvers and teachers including classes, informal shop visits, clubs, reading, and the University of U Tube.

Ken's woodworking is in demand at many craft shows and art festivals

Ken’s woodworking is in demand at many craft shows and art festivals

How do you ensure plenty of time to be an artist?

I try to break up my day and year into blocks of time to focus on one type of work at a time and simplify my production and also avoid mental burn out and physical challenges.

You can go learn more about Ken’s Fiber College class here.

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