Artist – Gregg Lipanovich

Gregg lipanovich 2016I grew up with woodworking. My father actually was a ‘pipe smoking engineer’ whose hobby was wood working. The coolest tool I ever saw as a kid was the Shopsmith. It’s a lots-of-tools-in-one machine. I thought it was just the greatest the way it could change it from table saw to drill press, to lathe and other tools. I had lots of fun using it, and learned a great deal.

While going to SF State I continued my unofficial study of woodworking. I got a job helping a pro renovate and remodel homes owned by members of Jefferson Airship band. Now there was a job where money really was no object! Whole walls of exotic – and really expensive – woods. 

After graduation I took a 30 year detour selling and never did try to be a professional woodworker. I did continue woodworking as my hobby. Made much of my own furniture, either out of necessity when I couldn’t find, or I couldn’t afford what I wanted. I also spent some years buying and renovated some fixer up type houses, which is carpentry rather than wood working.  

I moved to SoCal 15 years to be with Penny. We bought our San Clemente house and again I made some furniture and a gazebo in the back yard – pretty much hobby working, fun and practical. This changed a few years later as I headed toward retirement. I discovered the scroll saw, and then the bandsaw! Suddenly things I make didn’t have to be straight or square, but all sorts of rounds and ovals. What fun! 

These artful wooden sculptures that you can put things – Ok, you can also call them jewelry boxes – are the result of my discoveries. I’ve sold them at a few places and gotten a few blue ribbons for them at the Fair and our local art gallery. My most fun sell was easy. An appliance repairman I called to look at our oven, walked through my garage and saw some of my boxes. Started talking about them and asked if I’d sell him one for his 30th anniversary. Of course, this was my only sell out of my garage/shop. In fact, while being given a blue ribbon for one of my pieces, woman connected to this Art-A-Fair, suggested I should try to get judged in. I did, and was, and here I am. 

Making these band saw boxes are as much sculpturing as woodworking. Only with this saw can I cut the wood blank into the drawers and then the outside, in so many curves. My final cut is the exterior. Only then, when I lift the box from its blank can I see what the box looks like. Fortunately, I’m usually very pleased with all the marvelous and varied patterns the outside has. These boxes show wood from angles one usually doesn’t see. And as all wood grains vary from inch to inch, I couldn’t make two identical boxes, no matter how hard I tried. So I never have.


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