Tyler Jamison’s passion brings out the beauty of wood
Tyler Jamison carves and turns wood, emphasizing texture, showcasing the grain. But he doesn’t work with just any old wood he finds. Each piece is carefully selected, each unique due to the chipping that occurs in a tree when infected with a fungus. It creates beautiful dark swirling veins in the wood, making Tyler’s finished vessels look like they were painted by the hand of God.
He also spins burls, growths found on the sides of trees. In these burls, the grain of the wood is twisted into a variety of combinations. They make colorful mosaics in its finished products.
“I can never do the same pieces twice,” Tyler says. “I’m very interested in what’s going on in the woods. I feel an intimate connection with him. It brings me a lot of peace and makes me happy to see the raw wood taking its final form.
Don’t be fooled by the beauty of the woods he uses. Woodturning is a complex and often dangerous art form. Indeed, the more beautiful a piece of wood is, the more difficult and dangerous it can be to turn. Although the fungus creates beautiful marks, it also causes deterioration, leaving voids throughout the wood.
Often working through a hole less than an inch wide, Tyler can use a specially shaped gouge or chisel to dig deep inside the vessel as he quickly spins on a lathe. Unable to see the tools as they cut, all he is left with is sensation. This can lead to a coin literally exploding before his eyes. But it’s a risk worth taking, he says, to create something you love.
While it is obvious that this sculptor has an incredible talent, he is the first to easily share the credit for his work. “As the water escapes from the wood, it warps and shrinks the wood. It gets a little wonky, which I love,” he says. “But that’s all Mother Nature does. just turn a simple shape, and the wood does the rest.
Simple might be an understatement. Each piece can take up to two weeks to create. When asked what he does with those who don’t live up to his expectations, fiancé Tara Watson, who handles her marketing and often helps with the design, replies: “He puts them on the battery to burn. I really hate the burn pile. Every artist has their own personal standard, and Tyler is no exception. If he is not satisfied with a piece, it will not come out of his shop.
Preferring to work with local hardwoods, Tyler seems to have a knack for finding these exotic pieces in the most unexpected places. One of his favorites to work with is yew root ball, although these pieces are hard to find. Tyler rarely passes up opportunities. While working on a landscape project, he spotted a yew bush that needed to be removed and offered to dig it up. The motte has become one of the most prized pieces in his collection.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Tyler has lived in the Knoxville area for nine years. Although he’s always been drawn to woodworking, a show at the Emporium three years ago defined his creative direction. “It was a Tennessee Craft Guild Show, and Gordon Fowler was turning wood on a lathe,” he recalls. “I was fascinated by it. I went home and bought a lathe. His love for carving hollow shapes into simple shapes that let the grain of the wood sing grew.
Tyler sells his art on Etsy and occasionally at local festivals. He leans towards creating artistic pieces rather than those designed for function, knowing that each is as distinct as the one before it. “I make them so people like to see them and hold them.”
Head toward www.tpjwoodsculpting.etsy.com to see Tyler’s work. If you would like to order a custom piece from Tyler, you can contact him at [email protected]