Meher Baba Bas-Relief Wood Carving 1974 - 1976
In May of 2008, I woman came to my Open Studio and asked me if I could build stools in walnut with carved seats, in the manner of Sam Maloof, the master chair maker of our time. She had a walnut counter top. I didn't know how to do it, but I wanted to know. I said yes. She flashed me a significant look and left, leaving an address that returned my card, no telephone number, and no email address. I put it out of my mind, when, with a three week deadline, came the call, "Would you build them by such and such date in time for my house warming party?" Yes, of course. I talked to eight woodworkers, studied a video of Sam and his apprentices working on his $20,000 rocking chairs. After two days, I had a variety of tools and a plan combining different ideas, techniques, and my own intuition. Another two days, and I had the seat carved out. The stools were ready in time, but without a finish. I took them back and sanded and sanded and oiled until they gleamed.
This is a bas-relief carving of Meher Baba - actually six instances: three literal and three metaphorically. I started carving in 1974 and finished, almost, in 1976. During a visit to Meher Baba's Tomb in that year, Padri, an old time disciple "commissioned" me to carve panels for the doors of Meher Baba's Tomb. Upon my return I did this one to see if I could do it. Currently for sale for $30,000, it is carved from 2 pieces of.15"x15" pecan. All the panels would have to be carved concurrently due to wood's natural aging process.