Hand-carved wooden ware on display in Ashtabula

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ASHTABULA, Ohio – Wooden bowls, ladles, spoons and dishes reminiscent of colonial America will be on display at the Ashtabula Arts Center in January, as part of an exhibit by local artist Lyle W. Siekkinen.

Siekkinen, a native of Kinsman, Ohio, creates the wooden ware from the bark of trees which he finds downed by storms or removed from an area for reasons of safety or progress.

An opening reception for Siekkinen will be held Jan. 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. His works will be on display in the gallery from Jan. 7-31.

He uses vintage tools like the bowl adz, draw knife and hewing axe to create objects which would have been common place in pre-1750 colonial America.

In those days, Siekkinen would have been considered a maker of “treenware,” a word meaning “wares hand-cut from trees.”

Siekkinen began carving wooden bowls in 1989. He said his goal is to “bring these simple functional pieces to the level of art.”

He uses the natural patterns, forms, colors and textures of the trees to create his wooden wares, and encourages the natural form and flaws of the wood to exist in his finished pieces.

His pieces range from traditional butter and dough bowls with matching paddles, to tasting spoons and trench bowls.

He said he never uses a pattern for his pieces, as he prefers to allow the grain and character of each individual piece of wood to determine the final product.

Siekkinen’s works have been exhibited at the Canton Art Institute, the Butler Institute of American Art and the Pennsylvania Farm Museum. He has done five years of shows in New York City, including the New York Botanical Garden, Craft Park Avenue and Lincoln Center.

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