Nearly all of the wood I use to make my bowls comes from arborists and saw mills. I prefer to work the wood as soon as the tree is cut down, in its “green” state. The wood is easier to work when it is still full of moisture. The bowls are turned on a wood lathe and they are turned twice. The first turning is to get them to a rouge shape and size in preparation for drying. After three or four months the bowls are usually dry enough to finish. They are tuned to their final shape and size, sanded, painted, sanded again and finished. My work can be found in galleries around the country and is included in the collections of the Museum of Art and Design, the Yale Art Gallery and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I also teach woodturning to woodturning clubs around the country and at craft schools including Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine.
Rodger’s technique is derived from timeless uses of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native American vessel makers. He believes in only using wood that is found locally and enjoys treking through the woods looking for distressed, burled, spalted, or even just plain trees. Rodger uses chain saws, log chains, and peaveys to achieve the look of his work. He has reached his goal when his work breathes by itself, when it radiates that certain aura that cannot be improved upon.
"I am adirect carver. The shape of the boulder suggests an idea. I draw on the stone and attack it with a pneumatic tooth chisel. Sometimes if alot of stone needs to be removed, I first use my angle grinder with a 4" diamond blade.
Usually I start with the human figure. I create the torso or lower body and then look for a smaller stone whose color creates an interesting contrast to become the head. I have been know to have stone body parts sitting around the studio waiting for the perfect match! I like to combine different type stones to create a more contemporary look to the age old stones sculpture process. The pieces evolve almost on there own. After roughing out the shape, I use an half round cabinet file to create flowing forms.
Lately my human forms have no arms, the face and body gesture create the expression. I am now moving toward creating full length figures who gracefully turn and twist. I like the stone to feel LIGHT!. I want my images to generate a response from the viewer. More carving is done using carbide and diamond burrs with air grinders. Italian riffle hand files are used to create eyes, fingers and small details.
The final sanding is long and tedious. Usually seven grades of sandpaper are used to create the polished surface. The piece is finished with a wax to protect it and add a slight shine. Certain areas as skin or hair may be left less sanded and not waxed to create separation of form. If possible I like to leave some of the area raw so the stony quality is evident.
When wood is carved an electric chain saw and pneumatic wood gouges are used.
My sculptures appear to be "born" out of the material. I feel sometimes I am more midwife than creator. The mystery is not only in the finished image but also in the process." - Jane Jaskevich
I have been working with trees and with wood since well before completing a Forestry degree at LSU in 1976. After a few years as a timber cruiser in the Pacific Northwest, I returned home to North Carolina and began a 25 year career as an engineer in the furniture industry. I have been woodworking and building fine furniture for myself and friends and family since college – first out of necessity and later as a creative pastime.
With my discovery of woodturning, however, a pastime of woodworking turned into a passion. “Turning” quickly captivated more and more of my creative energy and interest, and soon I left the furniture industry to work fulltime as a craftsman. My workshop is a depression-era clapboard building, a “store” that had been used by my family to sell their farm produce during the 1930’s and 40’s.
My wood comes from many sources, including the acres of hardwood forest left from the original family farm in Burke Country, NC. This mature forest has oaks, cherries, sycamores, poplars, hickories, and maples. Yet I use many woods from exotic sources as well, sometimes in lamination with local hardwoods.