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Joel Sayre

Seattle, WA

"I am a self-taught sculptor born and raised in the city but now living in the hills outside Duvall. There I spend more time in my studio — known for obvious reasons to anyone who has ever been there as the “Dust Bowl” — than I do in my house.

I started working with wood when I studied furniture making at the Wood Construction Center in Seattle several years ago. Gradually, I drifted away from making furniture to sculpting wood as I learned that my mind and personality are better suited to that free-form process.

Sculpting allows me the opportunity to explore the forms and patterns of the natural world that I like so much. I started out by modeling pieces after smooth river rocks. And, while I enjoyed the results, I became interested in making things that could serve a purpose — a small table, a bowl — while still maintaining an organic, abstract feel. Ever since, I have been drifting back and forth trying to find that balance.

There are times when I miss the precision of fine furniture making, and I wish for a better blueprint to follow than the (sometimes) vague idea in my head. More often than not though, I’m happy to chase the idea until it materializes in front of my eyes. Working with solid pieces of wood presents some challenges in that it changes as it is shaped. It cracks, twists and warps, sometimes dramatically. Bad spots in the wood will appear out of nowhere, and where they are least wanted. It took me a while to learn that as frustrating as these things can be, it’s just wood being wood. Accept it, work with it, have patience and it comes together . . . usually."
Wescover creator since 2018

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