Wood Whisperer | Margery E. Goldberg

Zenith Art Lovers,
Why did I choose my own work today? For all of you that know me, you know that I adored my father. Albert taught me so much. One of my many favorite lines is “If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will.”  

Margery with chainsaw

I make art because that is who I am. I’ve known this since I was ten when I started sculpture classes at Rochester Memorial Art Gallery.  At GWU I was an art major. After college in 1973 I was one of the first females in America with a complete woodworking studio. My work sold even before I graduated college and I have not looked back since. After a bad fire in my studio in 1977 I started Zenith Square, a 50,000 square foot art center 1/2 block from 14th Street at Rhodes Island Avenue, 10 years after the riots tore apart that neighborhood.

For over 45 years my obsession for the medium has not waned. I think of trees as our ancestors and family. Trees can live without people, but people cannot live without trees. Trees are our partners on this planet and without trees there would be no shelter, books, most furniture and home goods, heat or habitat for our entire ecosystem including the air we breathe. Solid wood is one of the most environmentally safe materials you can have in your home. Trees can support an ecosystem with more than 4000 different species living inside and out. Lots of healthy foods come from trees: berries, nuts, even bark, and some pine cones. The list is endless. 
Exotic and domestic hardwoods are my medium. Laminating and carving is my process. The results create a sensuous, warm, tactile and inviting work of art. Each tree and the wood therein is unique, like humans, no two are alike.  Whether I carve a single piece of wood or laminate the wood for sculpture and furniture, carve  logs or combine wood with neon, like the ancient carvers, I feel that I let the spirit out of the wood. I consider myself a wood whisperer. 
There’s an old Uzbekistan folktale that says if you want to calm down you “rub on wood.” We all need calming down right now, so if you have some smooth wood in your home, rub on it and see if it helps.
Remember when you go to museums and they tell you not to touch!!! Well I say “please touch my work,” they are meant to be handled. Since you can’t touch other people right now, you might take some comfort by touching wood.
A question to all of you. Can you think of anything that has ever lived that is more beautiful, useful and long lasting than wood after it is dead? Some trees live 1000’s of years. From cradle to grave we are surrounded by wood… from cribs to caskets.  
Our nonprofit, The Zenith Community Arts Foundation, received a grant to build the first mobile wood-shop in the District of Columbia. Here is a link to more information about the project and how you can help and benefit.    
Soon my new wood-shop will be built on my property and I can once again take on commissions and work on larger pieces. 
Creatively Yours,
Margery E. Goldberg