Following 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 Moulthrop
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.
The 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.
Matt 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.”
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!