The mirrors are framed with thick beams of sugar maple carved and shaped to mimic attributes in nature. A series of pegs poking up like sticks, shelves like mushrooms growing from the sides, and little drawers with peep holes small enough for wrens. These are the beautiful functions carved into the frames of the new one-of-a-kind sculpted mirrors from AP.
“The process takes time,” says Daniel, “but they’re fun.”
He begins with a rough idea of the size of the mirror, then searches for the base or bottom shelf.
“I look for interesting things in the wood that I want to accentuate, a little knot, for example. Then I cut the piece, centering the interesting place so that it will reflect in the mirror.”
The wood comes from a 360-year old sugar maplethat struggled its entire life for light. It grew so slowly, the resulting wood, when finished, is dense and smooth as marble. Because the wood was
air-dried for 10 years rather than kiln dried, the graining is rich and alive with color. He chooses from this wood the pieces for the side rails and top crest, and lays them all out. He studies the wood, sometimes trading out pieces in search of a better composition. He looks for “where things want to happen” and marks these areas out with a fat sketching pencil.
Once he draws in the rough shape of how the sides will swoop up to meet the crest rail, and where the drawers or shelves will come into play, the carving begins. These areas are first rough-shaped on the ban-saw. He uses a grinder to carve out the recessed areas in the shelves, then goes over everything multiple times with multiple hand planes. Many passings with sandpaper carve out more detail and expression.
The result is functional art. The mirrors, though intentionally sculpted, have the look and feel as if there is no other way they could be.
Daniel did a series of four mirrors for the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City - two small, one medium, and one large. The two small mirror are both sold. The large and the medium mirror along with his new standing mirror, also already spoken for, are on display for the month of October at The Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul. Meet them in person, touch the wood, and feel the magic of this 360-year old tree.