Ernst Gamperl

b. 1965

"I look for pieces of wood full of character with knots, irregular growth patterns, tears, breaks and interesting details.  With the fundamental structure of a piece of wood in mind I am then guided by the raw material and my emotions to bring out its beauty."

Gamperl is a master craftsman and sculptural artist who works in wood and has an international reputation for the beautiful, organic vessel forms he creates.  Self-taught, he has dedicated the past 20 years to study and understand the drying properties of wood and the effect this has on the works he forges. He turns wood when it is wet and takes his cue for the final shape of the vessel from the natural characteristics of his material. Gamperl has worked with exotic woods but his current preference is for European maple, beech, Italian olive tree and oak. His materials are sustainable as he works only with wood that has been found or had to be felled for other ecologically sound reasons.

Gamperl works the fresh wood at the lathe then lets it bulge, warp and crack during the drying process. To hold the cracks and fissures together he uses wooden and wire staples, these too are used to great effect and add further interest to each piece.

Next, Gamperl observes the distinctive qualities of the wood; grain, colour, grooves, knots and burrs and enhances their beauty with surface treatment. He waxes and polishes, scrubs out streaks, carves filigree grooves and contrasts the smooth and shiny with the rough-hewn and scarred. The end result are understated, contemporary and intriguing vessel forms that have surface qualities which accentuate the intrinsic beauty of wood to great effect.

Gamperl has won multiple awards for his sculptures. His work is in museum collections worldwide, this includes The Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg; The International Design Museum/Neue Sammlung, Germany; Collection Issey Miyake, Japan; The National Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

All Wood Artists