Price range: $850 to 3,600. Point to an image for more information. Click to enlarge.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Robert Cherry had the great good fortune to find inspiration for his artistic ambitions right in the heart of his own family. With a talented grandmother who painted in oils, Cherry found himself inspired to create, but in a manner that suited his own skills and ambitions. Being mechanically inclined he worked in wood as well as metal and stone; but it was wood he always returned to. The challenge of the medium, the drive to create in wood while producing something different and new, something unexpected, became his artistic path.
The refined finishes of the pieces by Robert Cherry, the exquisite shapes and frequent inlays belie the fact that Robert Cherry is self-taught as an artist. He learns from himself: “I like to use the last piece as a stepping stone for the next, trying to bring something new to each piece.” His techniques are the result of trial and error. “Occasionally, though not often, many hours of planning and labor have become fuel for the evening fire,” he notes. Though, when admiring any of Cherry’s stunning vessels, one can only guess that those rare occurrences are proof of an artist who strives for ever-increasing innovation and perfection.
Robert Cherry begins by choosing “blanks” for their character and natural defects (“defects” that are desirable since he will soon fill them with turquoise or other accents). His “blanks” come from a variety of sources in northern and central New Mexico; wood available from forest fires and trees brought down by natural causes. These “blanks” are "roughed out" based on their own characteristics and then are allowed to dry to 10-15 % moisture content. From there, they are given final shapes both inside and out, and accents and/or colors are applied along with several coats of resin finish. The exterior is shaped by hand-turning while the interior presents quite a different challenge with access only through a relatively small hole. Robert Cherry uses several home-grown boring bars and cutters to accomplish work on his interiors, work that, since he cannot see inside, is all done by feel and touch.
In a large shop incorporated into his home, Robert Cherry works in silence on multiple pieces at a time (a natural process necessitated by the drying times of various of his processes). Every one of his vessels represents between 30-40 hours of work.
Often, at first glance, and even at second glance, Cherry’s wood vessels are confused for glass, so smooth are their surfaces. These are artworks one needs to see and touch to fully appreciate the remarkable nature of each.