Blogs, new artwork, and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey

Thought-provoking blogs, links, new artwork and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey.

Ingrained Stories

The other day, while strolling on Hapuna beach (Big Island, HI) at the time day when shadows are lengthening and people are shaking the day’s sandy exploits from blankets and flip flops, I found my eye tracing the fine sandy lines etched on the beach by the waves. It seems that the Great Artist never tires of guiding these liquid hands to scrawl intricate designs upon that sandy palette. Time and tide, weather and providence all take part in these constantly-changing “ingrained” masterpieces which He so lavishly pens, erases, and re-pens.

As I strolled and wondered at these magnificent compositions, it somehow occurred to me that these constantly-changing sandy compositions are a sort of “grain” of the sea. Perhaps I turned to this metaphor as a sculptor of wood, for in that category of creativity, “grain” (as in “wood grain”) is the ever-present visible evidence of life and movement. O, what stories are ingrained in even the most benign piece of wood! Written by the finger of God with the pens of providence, time, and natural elements, these ingrained stories speak of long, hard winters, and of wet, sap-bringing summers, and much more. In spinning their grainy tales, the planks harmonize with the ingrained (as in “grains of sand”) sea-stories as they together sing of life and movement at the hands of God.

In my wood sculptures, I often let the wood’s ingrained story guide my creative process. It starts as I stand before racks of lumber in the store when I feel as though I am standing before a forest of stories ingrained by the finger of God on tablets of wood. As I gaze at this wonderful library, I look for specific stories that match the ones I want to tell through specific sculptures. For instance, I might look for an ingrained wood story that speaks of cloud and sun. Or, I may seek an ingrained wood story that hints at the movement of flowing water or undulating waves. Back in my studio, I sculpt the wood in accord with its ingrained story in harmony with the story I want to tell in my sculpture.

I invite you to look closely at my work and discover these ingrained stories – stories of life and movement retold by me but originally written by the Great Artist on tablets of wooden forests and sandy beaches.