Steve Caldwell creates expertly crafted wooden bowls, vessels and other turned pieces. His work combines classic shapes with modern techniques using painting, burning, textures, local woods, and fine finishes.
Steve explains his background...
I have been doing some kind of woodworking or construction most of my life. At age 12, I would spend fall weekends building dog houses for sale. I worked summers for my father’s construction company, first as a laborer, and then on the framing crew in high school and college. I graduated from college with an art degree in the mid 70’s, and began remodeling houses before getting into furniture-making in the early 80’s. I concentrated on building furniture for ten years, before switching to mostly cabinet-making to support a growing family. Now that I have time to pursue other outlets, I have been pleasantly surprised by the joy and creative expression that comes from turning wood.
My turning work is about exploring shapes, surfaces, color, and wood characteristics. When I started turning wood again in 2014, I was quite taken with the shapes of Southwestern pottery from the 19 pueblos of Arizona and New Mexico. I’ve continued to work with many Southwest shapes and themes in my turnings, as well as floral, marine, and several other forms. I love not only the great Southwest styles and stories, but also the history and functions these works represent. I’ve been using these pottery forms to depict ideas about Southwestern native culture, as well as aspects of the Southwest landscape, weather, and geology. Throughout this work, I’ve tried to maintain an openness to the wood and what it is telling me. I’ve tried to create objects that invite contemplation. When the forms, the wood, and my technique are working together, I hope an object is successful.