Meet Raymond Mellott
Ray’s original career was Information Technology and his hobby was doing things in wood. In the mid-1990’s Ray started experimenting with freeform carving; and quickly focused on “odd” wood - the kind that wouldn’t make it in furniture; or even as firewood.
After he retired, he bought a lathe and started turning that odd stuff into what you can now see. Now, most of his work is turned. A rare piece may be wholly or in part, hand and/or machine carved. Sometimes it is a combination of turning and carving.
The work reflects Ray’s interest in the variety that can be found in the medium.… Wild grain, crotchwood, voids, splits, bark and other inclusions, stains, spalting (fungus) and wormholes give the wood a unique character, making furniture grade stuff – well, furniture grade and you know…. just… nice but really… boring.
With only limited exceptions, the wood Ray uses all comes from locally felled trees, where Ray harvests and roughs out the work ‘wet’, sets aside to dry for as much as two years or more; and only then, shapes and finishes. Hours can easily go into the wet work. Days can go into the shaping and finishing of a large, complicated piece. It can’t be rushed.
In his work, the natural colors and appearance of the wood most often stand alone. Sometimes, Ray will fume an oak piece. Sometimes colored wax will be used to accentuate defects or grain. Occasionally garnet shellac might be used to highlight the reds in a piece. But all that is situational.
Ray generally finishes his work with food safe oils, rub on finishes, sometimes shellacs, and occasionally, waxes. Sometimes voids and cracks are filled; often not. The finishing of the piece can easily take longer than the shaping.