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Woodturning News: General News

THE WEST AUSTRAILIAN: A God-given talent (12/22/2017)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
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“Nature is the art of God,” wrote the Italian medieval poet Dante. Small but perfectly formed, the current exhibition featuring the work of Armadale wood-turner Jack de Vos is by extension a celebration of all three: nature, art and God.

De Vos migrated to WA from the Netherlands with his parents in 1952. He grew up in Armadale, later becoming a carpenter. In 1968, he and his wife Ina bought a citrus orchard in Pinjarra; in 1978 they planted a stonefruit orchard in Keysbrook.

In 1982 de Vos turned to wood-turning to supplement his income. Such was his talent and passion for the craft that in 1993 the orchard was sold and de Vos became a full-time wood-turner. He died earlier this year at the age of 75, leaving a rich legacy not just of work but of knowledge through his teaching.

The exhibition consequently displays not just finished works but works in progress, as well as the tools of de Vos’ trade; there are also sketchbooks.

But as de Vos had written on his website jackdevos.com: “I have an acute awareness that the wood, and the trees it comes from, as well as the talent one has to craft fine pieces, are God-given. In my artistic pieces I aim to reflect my appreciation for the majestic beauty of God’s creation, as a result most of my artistic pieces are inspired by nature.”

This is why the finished works have such integrity. Working with jarrah, sheoak or grass tree woods; turning, carving, piercing or staining; producing a vase, a bowl, a platter, a sculpture or even a cup and saucer, as part of his Fire, Gumnut, Foliage, Seedpod series: the result is an art in which every element grows organically from the whole in a spirit of love and exploration.

Of course one does not have to be religious to enjoy the art, and the craftsmanship, of de Vos. One simply needs to delight, as much as he did, in nature as the art of a power that transcends, and yet flows through us all.

The exhibition runs until April 2018 at History House Museum, Armadale. See armadale.wa.gov.au

 

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