Matt Moulthrop: What’s New and What’s Next

Matt Moulthrop picFollowing in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Matt Moulthrop turned his first bowl at the age of 7. Completing his BA at the University of Georgia and MBA at Georgia Tech, Matt tried his hand at work in the 9-to-5 world, but ultimately eased into turning wood as a career, making him the third generation of Moulthrops to carry on the craft.

“My spirituality is affected by what I see in nature. I work with wood that is unnatural or uncommon. Trees that have been diseased, are decayed, or may have been hit by lightning. I never cease to be amazed by what’s new or what’s next. It’s humbling to see the power of nature and what God has created.” ~Matt MoulthropMMouthrop 1

Listen to Matt’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Matt says that as a young adult, he learned that the artistry of wood turning comes not from the hand, but from the eye. Being able to “see” the shape of the bowl has been a legacy and a gift he has tried to improve upon with his vision and version of style, form, and texture.

MMoulthrop 2The artistry of woodturning begins with the wood. Matt says, “I read the log to see what is interesting in the pattern. The work is a revelation process — the challenge is to manipulate the material to best reveal what has been created in nature. I’m constantly looking for new colors or new patterns — anything that’s unusual.”

His works has been displayed in galleries and museums around the country, including the Smithsonian Institution, Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.; The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA; and The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.

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Coffee table made from poison ivy vines.

MMoulthrop pivy 2Matt talks about one of his most unusual pieces, a table made from poison ivy vines. He says, “Poison ivy is kind of a vilified wood in a sense, but it is spectacularly beautiful. This table was one-of-a-kind. In my research to create it, I couldn’t find anyone who had done anything with poison ivy before. It was a tremendous challenge. There was a danger factor to both skin and lungs, but I had somebody help me who is not allergic and we took a lot of precautions.”

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As a child, Matt posed inside one of his grandfather’s woodturned bowls to show the scale of the art.

Find out more about Matt and his work at www.moulthropstudios.com. Watch a fascinating 15 minute segment on the PBS program, Craft in America, about Matt, his dad Philip and grandfather Ed — three generations of woodturners.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Mal McEwen: Everything Has Significance

Mal McEwen picMal McEwen is a north Georgia chainsaw artist with family roots in the area dating back to 1746. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and creating works of beauty, including being a mechanic, machinist and trim carpenter.

Mal picked up a chainsaw for the first time in 2002 and has never looked back. What started as a hobby has transformed into a livelihood, with commissioned projects coming from as far away as California. Known as the MalHatter (for the colorful top hat he wears while performing), Mal has carved from Florida to Pennsylvania to Washington State and many points in between.Malhatter owl

 “Through my spirituality and my art, I notice and get inspired by small things. It inspires me to watch ants do their job. From the little things to the big things, everything has significance. My best advice is don’t take the big things as being huge and don’t take the small things as being small. Everything has a purpose and meaning.”  ~Mal McEwen

Listen to Mal’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Always willing to give back to his community, Mal demonstrates at multiple local libraries each summer with the hope of inspiring children to follow their dreams. He has been commissioned for carvings at a number of public and private schools and is always a big hit with the kids.

Mal says, “I’m inspired by nature and by kids. There’s nothing greater than working with a child or young person and watching something spark in their head. I tell them, ‘You don’t have to be an artist. You can be Malhatter swan benchwhatever you want to be in life — don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Try to be the very best that you can be.’”

In this world of mass production, Mal takes great pride in the fact that each piece is 100% American-made, individually carved, and is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

In May of 2009 Mal organized the first major carving competition in the Southeastern US. The Inaugural “Buzz in the Blue Ridge Chainsaw Carving Extravaganza” was a huge success — nine carvers showcased their talent and raised awareness of this up-and-coming art form.  With the success of the “Buzz”, Mal has gone on to promote other carving events in the Southeast.Malhatter in action

He says, “I’ve got the only job in the world that combines the speed and sound of motocross with the skill and accuracy of a brain surgeon. I’ve had no formal training at all, but I’ve worked with a bunch of talented chainsaw artists over the years. I learn from them and they learn from me.”

MalHatter mooseFind out more about Mal and his MalHatter appearances at www.malworks.com. Like his Facebook page, Georgia Chainsaw Artist, to see photos of his most recent art.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!