Gary Flynn

PLAYING with WOOD and EARTH

I have been carving, with the intention of creating objects that match my inner vision, for about 12 years.

I first remember using a pocket knife to play with wood when I was about 8 years old. I was sitting under a tree, whittling on a small branch. I remember being fascinated with almost every stroke of the knife—the endless ways that the wood would change. Showing off its inner beauty.

At the same time, I would also lie back on the ground and look up thru the branches of the large tree I was under. Incredible depth. Imaginary worlds. And thru the branches and leaves, hints of sky. The beyond.

The tree was on a side street in Chicago. Cars would often pass. Other urban sounds. And I was entranced. Peaceful and quiet. Focused on wood.

About 12 years ago, I was at a workshop designed to discover, and celebrate, what each participant identified as their genius—what they would be able to do 24 hours a day and not get bored. And I remembered that my passion was PLAYING with WOOD and EARTH.

I have had a number of other interests that came together at that time, and contributed to how I carve wood, some of them dating back at least to the age of 8.

WOOD: I have always collected pieces of wood that intrigued me. Infinite variety of shapes and patterns. And often, something hidden, or waiting, just on the other side of the surface.

IMAGERY: For many years, I have explored varieties of creative and healing imagery, especially spontaneous imagery that rises from the depths of our conscious and unconscious selves. I have been intrigued with animal and nature imagery, and loved the opportunity to pursue any journey that these images offered. In this learning process, I studied with Dick Olney and Stephen Gallegos.

MINIATURE WORLDS: I have long wondered what it would be like to enter miniature worlds. Some of the glimpses I have had of these are: Mary Jane and Sniffles (a comic book series); the Teenie Weenies (a comic strip): Lilliputians; the Micronauts (another comic book series); leprechauns; miniature rooms at the Chicago Art Institute; Joseph Cornell’s boxes.

PARALLEL WORLDS and TIME TRAVEL: I have often been able to get lost in books and movies that described universes parallel to ours; and the gates that exist between them. My favorite writer on this subject was Phillip Jose Farmer. However, I could often find my own gates while exploring deserted buildings, alleys and old dumps.

LIMINAL SPACES: I have always enjoyed “the space between…,” although I often forget it is there.

So, when carving, I often feel that I enter the wood. As a holder of the tool—AND as an explorer of yet undiscovered spaces.

Gary Flynn
gflynng@yahoo.com

To Make a Purchase

If you are interested in purchasing an item, text Gary at 507-450-9145 or email woodenjoy.gf@gmail.com. The studio is not open to the public, but arrangements can be made to see a piece.

Inner Lights

I have been fascinated with the inside of trees and branches for as long as I can remember. Just like humans, wood has an inner life, a core that began at birth and remained constant as its exterior interacted with the outer world. It is mysterious and perfect just the way it is.

The hollow wood that is here lit by LED bulbs comes from a variety of wood. Some I find on heroic journeys into wooded places. Some on trips thru alleys and neglected urban areas. Some are gifts from friends. Recently the squirrels and woodpeckers have collaborated to drop some interesting pieces right into my yard. All are gifts from the trees.

Each of these pieces rest securely on a base, which holds the LED light. Each piece may be turned to give a variety of views. Some of them may also be turned upside down.

# 1

Wood: Lilac (with stained glass piece)

Height (with base): 15”

$84

# 2

Wood: Lilac (lots of inner red)

Height (with base): 9”

$64

# 3

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 9”

$69

# 4

Wood: Unknown Bark

Height (with base): 10½”

$64

# 5

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 5”

$54

# 6

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 8”

$74

# 7

Wood: unknown dead tree, with beginning carving done by bugs or insects

Height (with base): 9”

$74

# 8

Wood: Lilac root

Height (with base): 8”

Second image is a close up. It is difficult to get into the roots of lilac and then remove the gummy dirt to reveal the wood. This smaller piece took at least twice as long as most bigger branches. (Click on image to see detail in lightbox view.)

$84

# 9

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 12”

$69

# 10

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 11”

The light coming through the burl is intriguing.

$94

# 11

Wood: Lilac (with stained glass)

Height (with base): 10”

$74

# 12

Wood: Upper branch of a bush that died

Height (with base): 19”

Both day and night views are shown because it is unique for a thinner lilac branch. The light illuminates the inside all the way to the top.

$159

It is difficult to find old hollow lilac roots; and roots take a lot more extra work. The following three pieces are good examples. Each of them had become quite hollow above ground. The roots then began exploring in many different directions. This gives depth, and mystery, to the pieces' inner world..

# 13

Wood: Lilac Root

Height (with base): 13”

This root also shows more of the inner red colors.

$199

# 14

Wood: Lilac Root

Height (with base): 19”

$199

# 15

Wood: Lilac Root

Height (with base): 16”

$199

# 16

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 7½”

$64

# 17

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 10”

Both day and night views are shown.

$64

# 18

Wood: Lilac (with a lot of an inner red layer showing)

Height (with base): 6”

$59

# 19

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 15”

$79

# 20

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 19”

$99

# 21

Wood: Soft Maple

Height (with base): 8½”

$54

# 22

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 13”

$79

# 23

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 10½”

$64

# 24

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 8”

$49

# 25

Wood: Unknown found in the woods

Height (with base): 12”

This piece is open in the back; and it looks good against a flat or created surface.

$69

# 26

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 11”

$69

# 27

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 13”

This piece, like many of the others, shows how turning the piece will give many different views and light patterns. It also can be turned upside down for additional views. The second view is upside down. Or downside up.

$84

# 28

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 10”

$69

# 29

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 6”

$49

# 30

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 11”

$79

# 31

Wood: Soft Maple

Height (with base): 5”

$49

# 32

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 8”

$74

# 33

Wood: Lilac (with pine backdrop)

Height (with base): 12”

$84

# 34

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 9”

$79

# 35

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 13”

$84

# 36

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 8”

$59

Carvings with Lights

I have recently been adding carving to my Inner Lights. To show them, I have put them on a turntable (not included) so you can see the continuous paths that the little people and/or animals walk. Each carving will also have lit examples.

# 101

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 9.6”

$329

# 102

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 7½”

$329

# 103

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 8”

$329

# 104

Wood: Lilac

Height (with base): 7”

$229

# 105

Wood: Lilac

Height (with stand): 12”

$289

Carvings

# 201 – Forest Landscape

Wood: Walnut

Height (with base): 5”; Length: 8½”

Front, back and expanded views

I have a great curiosity about living landscapes. So, I'm sure that when I saw this piece of wood from a walnut tree I began to see a landscape. It is much smaller than other carvings I have done. The people that live there are the smallest I have ever met.

$159

# 202 – Fellow Travelers

Wood: Found (maybe cherry)

Height (with base): 6”

Front, back and expanded views

I don't know where these travelers originated. (Turntable not included.)

$159

# 203 – Bird/Fish

Wood: Manzanita

Length: 13”

Front and back views

$139

# 204 – Pine Knot Flower

Wood: Pine

Height: 12”; Base: 12”

Front and back views

This is one pine knot cut in two. I was just playing with it on the surface and the rich, deep color came out. Playing some more, flowers began to appear.

$139