Chris Hoehle is a sculptural artist from Denver, Colorado. He began his studies of woodworking in the Fine Woodworking program at Red Rocks Community College in 2005, eagerly meandering his way through the catalog of most of the classes offered in that program over a period of five years and ultimately falling in love with and focusing on woodturning, the art of shaping spinning blocks and rounds of wood with handheld gouges and chisels on the wood lathe. Chris describes the process as follows:
"I often tell people unfamiliar with it that it is is very much like a ceramist throwing clay on a wheel, but my wheel is horizontal instead of vertical and I'm taking material away instead of adding. To me the process is at once exhilarating and meditative, and the possibilities for creative expression are endless!"
After completing the woodturning program at Red Rocks, Chris broadened and deepened his knowledge of the craft by by attending workshops with some of the top professionals in the field at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. Most recently, this period culminated with him working as the instructor's assistant to his mentor, the internationally renowned wood artist Jacques Vesery, during Mr. Vesery's summer workshops in form and design held at the aforementioned arts and crafts schools from 2017 through 2019. That last year also marked the year that Chris became a full time artist.
Chris works primarily in domestic American hardwoods, both commercial kiln-dried wood, and fresh cut or "green" urban lumber salvaged by the artist himself from local homeowners and arborists from trees that had to be removed for various reasons such as storm damage or age. In particular, he is fascinated by the fiery chatoyance of wood such as curly maple and cottonwood, which he often enhances and highlights with the bold color of translucent metal-complex wood dyes, many times building multiple layers of undulating colors that further enhance the tendency of these beautiful grain patterns to appear as shimmering mirages that change their appearance according to different angles of the light. The rich warmth of eastern cherry is another favorite, as are green or white ash and Siberian elm, and the earthy tones of milk paint make a frequent appearance in his work as well, in a nostalgic nod to early American furniture styles.
While he maintains a reverence for the wonderful, warm, and giving material that is wood, he increasingly views the woodturned form as a starting point only. A blank canvass to be carved, colored, burned or textured, or incorporated in to mixed media sculptures along with stainless steel, copper and brass, in diverse and eclectic bodies of work that range from the simple utilitarian elegance of his bowls, plates and other functional tableware, to his joyful and whimsical series of wall-hanging sculptures, to carved and painted vessels and sinuous forms that incorporate the color palettes of rust and metal and invoke seed pods, steampunk scenes, or strange but benevolent creatures found in the outer reaches of the galaxy or other dimensions!
Chris is also passionate about introducing others to the joys of woodturning and teaches small group classes in his own studio as well as the community woodshop at the Denver Tool Library, and he produces educational content for other woodturners on Instagram and YouTube.
ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT TO THE INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS. LOGO COPYRIGHT VALKARIE GALLERY