Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview with Rochester Furniture Maker, Sculptor, and Author Scott Grove

 Scott Grove’s many years of creative woodworking endeavors have culminated into his writing a book that shares his expertise, “Advanced Veneering”, recently published by Schiffer Books.  This artistic manual proves to be a comprehensive guide to wood veneering.  We asked Scott some questions to help us get to know him better and what makes him tick as an artist and a person.  A fine example of one of Scott’s sumptuous tables can be seen in the November exhibit, “Once Upon a Coffee Table: Fine Art Furnishings” at The Shoe Factory Art Co-op.  Copies of his book will be on hand as well.

Shoe Factory:  Scott, where did you grow up?  Where do you live now? 
Scott Grove:  I grew up in Westchester county – Croton-on-Hudson (on the Hudson river, one hour north of NYC).  I now live in Henrietta on the Genesee River.
SF:  When did you start making furniture?
SG:  I am a third generation artist and have been making art all my life.  One day I put a piece of glass on a sculpture and voilà!  Art furniture!  This happened in….1981.
SF:   Did you go to school?  Where did you learn your craft? 
SG:  I went to RIT and got an environmental design degree with a minor in sculpture.  As I said, I’m a third generation artist.  My family was surrounded by creators.  Although all my woodworking skills are self taught, I’ve pioneered two techniques which are featured in my book.  I have won most recently a prestigious veneer tech challenge award in an unprecedented two categories, including top prize!
You’ve written a book! What is your new book about?
SG:  It’s called Advanced Veneering.  Here’s the book description:  “Veneer offers a wide range of artistic and creative freedom; the varied figures, colored grains, and shimmering textures of veneers, especially burls, offer an aesthetic not found in any other natural material. Scott Grove, award-winning artist and self-taught woodworker, takes you on a journey of working with veneer and shares his hands-on experience with milling, flattening, various cutting and seaming methods, traditional and non-traditional layout patterns, glues, pressing, and repairing. A special section dedicated to Grove’s pioneered techniques, wavy contour seam and spiral match, is also included. Traditional and alternative techniques are reviewed with comparison examples. Step-by-step instructions are beautifully illustrated with photographs and renderings along with easy to understand explanations. Thirty years of experience, tips, tricks, and “what to look for” suggestions are sprinkled throughout this must-have book for intermediate to advanced woodworkers.”
How long did it take you to write the book?  When did you find the time?
SG:  Good question!  Two years!  It took every spare moment!
SF:  How do you create your work?  What is your process?
SG:   I create my work by hand.  My process is carving and veneering.
SF:   What materials do you use?
SG:  I use highly figured wood veneer.  I also work in many other materials.  Recently I’ve been doing large outdoor pieces out of fiberglass.
SF:  What are you currently working on? 
SG:  You asked!  I’m currently working on a large 12’ exterior fiberglass sculpture to be installed next week downtown.   I just installed a photographic show at the Center at High Falls (18 large prints).  FYI - I am getting married next week at Max at High Falls!  I am creating a bed for a client in Washington, DC, a bedroom set for a client in Arizona, and 6 executive desks for a client in Pittsford!  Also, I’m creating a life size skydiver made from recycled grocery bags (mold taken from my nephew)!  I’m finishing up a large steel woven wire and recycled glass piece salvaged from the Genesee gorge below the high falls where there used to be a glass factory.  I’m working on an 8’ woven copper cocoon from leftovers scraped from a large sculpture I did for Summit Federal Credit Union from salvaged copper.  Salvaged from salvaged!  Also a fiberglass interactive bench sculpture, a large glass lighting piece, a very large stainless steel cube,  and a very unique veneered nude with contoured curves done with 3D veneering!  Did I say I am planning a wedding on 11.11.11!
SF:  What or who are your influences? 
SG:  Life!
SF:  Have you always been a creative person? 

SG:  Yes!  I’ve always been a creative person!  People say I ooze creativity.  I don’t know any other way.
SF:  What is your favorite creative experience in life so far? 
SG:  Oh, boy….I will keep it simple.  My fiance and I just returned from three weeks in Europe & the UK and created a new series called grand handstanding!  We (mostly she) did handstands everywhere and photographed them, over 60 handstands across Europe!  Nancy and I used to be on our high school gymnastic team together and we recently connected!  Plus, I discovered a new medium, video, I will be showing during our wedding.
SF:  What is your ultimate goal? 
SG:  Larger, bigger!
SF:  What are your needs as a furniture maker in Rochester? 
SG:  To get more local exposure!  I’ve been doing the national scene for the last 20 years!

Scott atop one of his sculptures

"Grand Handstanding" in a field in Belgium

Quilted makore and mahogany conference table
Maple, chipped glass, stainless steel, and copper center table

Scott's Website

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