Often the shape of the wood, and the presence of branches or knots, provides clear guidance to the overall shape. Similarly, the size, thickness, or length of the wood places limits on the options available. The grain must be continually worked with and forces the artist to respect its flow while at the same time offering distinctive patterning in many wood types. Wood can be shaped into sensuous curves or folds, or created with sharp edges allowing a variety of effects that alter the play of light on the sculpture.
Wood then offers a variety of possibilities to be teased from the wood. It is too easy to fall into a pattern of work that is formulaic, and wood–particularly when working with logs or portions of logs– allows the freedom to create very different forms. The three dimensional nature of wood sculpture also provides for greater interest. I must continually work around the sculpture seeking to create interest from every viewing angle. While there may be a preferred viewpoint, it should not dominate and the ability to rotate a sculpture allows its experience to be varied over time. Some of the works that have fascinated me recently involve pieces that do not have a fixed base, but rather can sit in any of a number of positions, completely altering the character of the work.