Dave Hiller is a local artist that works with wood to create both functional and artistic pieces. The majority of his work utilizes locally found wood that is processed using a woodturning lathe and then carved, decorated and finished by hand. His studio is located in the rolling hills west of New Glarus and Monticello.
I have loved the look, feel and smell of wood as long as I can remember and started using it to create things at an early age. My father taught woodworking at a high school and I started to learn how to cut and shape wood during frequent visits to the shop when I was six. A few years later, the Boy Scout program introduced me to woodcarving and sharpening techniques that have grown over the years through participation in a variety of classes, organizations and competitions. Learning how to turn wood on a lathe provided an unlimited opportunity to explore ways to release and capture the beauty that is hidden in every piece of wood.
Most of my turning is done using wood that has been obtained locally, including black walnut, box elder, cherry, oak, maple and butternut. I take great satisfaction in turning what most people see as firewood into objects that compel people to want to pick the piece up and feel the surface. Projects are initially rough turned from green wood, which is then sealed and slowly dried for up to 12 months to control the cracking that can occur. Each piece is then turned again on the lathe and sanded, carved or decorated before being finished. My desire is that each finished piece pays homage to the living organism that produced the wood.
Transforming a concept from the idea stage to a finished piece of art or functional object has provided so much personal enjoyment over the years that I have felt compelled to pass these woodcarving and woodturning skills on to kids and adults through programs at schools, libraries and other organizations for over thirty years.
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