Christoph Finkel Pushes the Limits of Woodworking
Recognizing the intrinsic, natural qualities of wood, German artist Christoph Finkel pushes the limits of woodworking to create stunning, sculptural vessels. Experimenting with both machine and hand tools, Finkel reduces heavy, raw wood into perfectly shaped bowls and vessels. Viewing wood as a living material, the artist is interested in the history and natural characteristics of each piece and highlights these qualities as he creates his unique objects.
Born in Allgüa, Germany in 1971, Finkel grew up in a small village in the southern German Alps. His father, a third-generation wood tuner, introduced his son to the craft at his home studio. This passion continued as Finkel attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Nürnberg where he began sculpting primarily in wood. His artistic endeavors lead him to develop a series of bowls, which was a new and exciting challenge for him. As an artist, he saw the potential for creating sculptural forms rather than traditional functional vessels.
Each bowl begins with the careful selection of wood from locally sourced trees including oak, maple and birch as well as fruit trees. Finkel first cuts the tree with his chainsaw to get a rough form. If necessary, the wood must be dried before he can begin to turn and carve the piece to shape. Using various vintage metal turning machines that the designer rebuilt to fit his needs, with several steps of hand carving using specially made steel and iron knives and wood turning tools, he achieves the desired surface. Before the bowls are finished, sanding with paper or a steel brush may also occur before the piece is dried for up to three months.
Luminaire spotted Finkel’s remarkable work during the 2012 Milan Fair where it was shown alongside Paola Lenti’s exhibition at the Chiostri dell’Umanitari. A number of these one-of-a-kind pieces will soon be offered at Luminaire’s showrooms.