Gianfranco Angelino (1938-2010)
Gianfranco has spent years developing new techniques and new tools to make technically feasible the exploitation of special portions of plants such as branches, roots, knots, bifurcates or of the stalk of small shrubs.
His field search for hidden wood peculiarities produced a file of 40 to 50 Mediterranean species which he currently uses in the manufacture of turned artifacts. Spruce and larch lower branches, furze, yellow, black and giant gorse, and lilac are some examples of fascinating almost unknown materials used by Angelino.
Since a great portion of the most charming woods are of small dimensions and irregular (i.e. organic) shape, usual techniques are powerless in converting the material into an object. Angelino has developed several new methods, with the aim of making the reclamation of otherwise intractable pieces of wood possible.
“Turning is always the second building step in my work; the first being the fabrication of the base structure which remains visible in the end result. Nature is my preferred reference: a whale skeleton, the ribbing in the wing of a dragon-fly or the geometric pattern of a turtle’s shell. With each of these there is an intrinsic beauty and truth. Building an object from small elements enormously widens the freedom of materials I can select from. No shrub stem is too slim, no tree branch is too small to prevent its use in the creation of a bowl or platter.
When considering the needs of society, the wood turner has the ability to demonstrate the many and diverse merits of wood. With the universal concern of global warming we now have an opportunity and a duty to replace energy intensive materials such as metals and plastics with wood whenever possible. I believe that it is the task of the artist working in wood to help bring about this change and to show the world that there can be a net gain in beauty and variety as well as profitability with a greater understanding of the natural and renewable qualities of wood.” “Pine is one of the most versatile woods in that the various parts of the tree offer materials of different characters. Furthermore, such materials, left in the forest after felling, acquire various degrees of spalting of essential value. After use in a turned piece it is often difficult to believe that all the variety of timbers originated from the same plant. Commercial wood has still different and plainer character: soft, whitish, with weak personality. In the bowl presented here by chance, almost all the expressions of pine, a turner’s material, are gathered: the translucent character of the wood near the root, the bluish spalted sections of newly grown parts of the bole and resin impregnated partially spalted branch portions.”