Larry Zeidman - Wood Turner Extraordinaire
I've never met Larry Zeidman and I would have never known of his work but for a change of plans caused by some unexpected rain during a visit to Hawi, a small town on the northern side of Hawaii.
We had just come back from a quick drive to the Pololu Valley lookout where my hopes of getting some good pictures were thwarted by overcast skies and a looming threat of rain. Deciding to try and salvage the remaining time we had left before returning to Dawn's mother's house where we were staying, we stopped by the "strip" in Hawi which aside from new shops occupying old buildings really hadn't changed much over the more-than-twenty years that we've come and gone to visit Dawn's family.
Looking for a place to eat, we ended wandering around this downtown area of Hawi which seemed to have increasing numbers of visitors with each visit we made to the big island over the years. We ran across the street and saw a shop I hadn't noticed on prior visits... the L. Zeidman Gallery
The rain increasing, we had not much else to do but poke around the different shops in the area, so we decided to go into the Zeidman gallery. Upon entering, we were greeted by the aroma (at least an aroma to me) of rubbing oil that enhanced the overall experience of suddenly being surrounced by an array of turned wood pieces as well as finely-sculpted wood pieces.
Greeting us as we walked in was a table with a sculpted wooden whale along with some other wooden art pieces...
The shelves were well-stocked with a collection of turned-wood bowls, plates, and other lathed pieces reflecting a wide range of woods each presenting a coloration and grain pattern not often seen in turned-wood pieces.
What impressed me most about Larry's work was how he took what would often be seen as flaws in the wood and turned them into the unique characteristics that separated each piece from all others.
Knots, along with voids and imperfections in the original stock are incorporated into the finished piece making each one a piece of exceptional beauty and a true one-of-a-kind.
Adding to the striking assymetry blended into his pieces, Larry utilizes a wide variety of non-traditional woods to present striking colors and patterns that further separate his work from many other wood artisans.
I was told that Larry had come to Hawaii from New York and although had worked with wood his entire life only turned to wood turning on a full-time basis in the early 90's.
It's unfortunate I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Larry during this visit. I certainly hope that I will on our next trip there!
For more information on Larry Zeidman's beautiful pieces, call the store at (808) 889-1400 or, better yet, visit the store in the center of town where Akoni Pule Highway (270) intersects with Hawi Road.
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