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Turned Wood by Jerry Green - Black Hills artist

Posted on 09 August 2013

Jerry Green / Bear Rock Wood Work

A native of South Dakota, Jerry Green grew up in the rural foothills and plains surrounding Rapid City. As is the case with many young men growing up in a blue-collar family, Jerry and his brothers bought and rebuilt cars and motorcycles, and then raced them. Living close to Mt. Rushmore and the beautiful Black Hills also gave Jerry generous opportunities to experience nature in its many forms. This gave him a unique view; somewhere between mountains and plains, urban and rural, mechanical and natural.

After graduating high school, he soon joined the Air Force during the Vietnam era as a jet engine mechanic. During his several years abroad, Jerry found a love of functional art.

His love affair with wood didn’t begin until the early 80’s when he started to experiment with furniture. His early work was influenced by the Arts and Crafts designers, Gustav Stickney and the Greene brothers, as he focused on the contrast of different woods and the beauty and functionality of finely crafted joinery. It wasn’t until a chance visit to a Santa Fe gallery, while on a family vacation in the mid-90’s, that his attention was drawn to using his tools of trade as a new avenue of artistic expression. The lathe has now become the primary focus of his creativity.

Jerry devoted his time to become as much a master of using a lathe with wood, as he was already a master with a lathe and steel. While continuing to use wood as his medium, he studies the work of both ancient and contemporary clay artists for inspiration. However, unlike the potter who builds up a vessel with clay, Jerry reverses the process, revealing the art within a piece of wood by peeling away the layers a bit at a time.

His work has been seen in “American Craft” magazine, Western Heritage Center, Prairie Edge Gallery, Dakota Nature & Art Gallery, and is in many private collections as well. Jerry’s work continues to evolve as he explores new techniques. But no matter what direction his work takes him, he strives to always bring a love of form and wonderment to his work. Jerry says, “I hope to translate my thoughts into a form that is both pleasing to the eye and hand, while challenging my skill and artistic expression with each new creation.” 

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