March 2014 - 7 Questions for Norm Sartorius
This short interview for the Collectors of Wood Art website was
conducted by Caroline Stevens and is part of her ongoing series
probing CWA member artists about their work. Read the
January 2014 - The Yale University Art Gallery announced the
accession of my cocobolo sculpture, Homage, in the present issue of
the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin of 3013 Acquisitions. In
addition a spoon carved from Conkerberry and another carved from
Amboyna Burl were also added to their permanent collection. All of
these pieces were donated to Yale by Kenneth Spitzbard who has been
supportive of my work for many years. My thanks go to Mr. Spitzbard
and to Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale Art Gallery,
Pat Kane for their hard work on my behalf. You can view the Bulletin
by clicking this
link. You can view the works by clicking
December 2013 I have 4 spoons on exhibition at the Wayne Art Center
in Wayne, PA from December 6, 2013 to January 25, 2014. They are
part of a show entitled, Nature in Craft. This is a new show mounted
as a companion to the Wayne Art Center's yearly Craft Forms
international juried exhibition.
Here are the
four spoons shown. For the duration of the show these pieces are
only available from the Wayne Art Center. Details of both Nature in
Craft and the parent show Craft Forms may be found
here. The Wayne
Art Center is a wonderful facility and both shows feature some of
the best craft art being made today.
October 2013 - Naming spoons has often been a challenge with many
spoons going unnamed over the years. Earlier this year Charles Mak
contacted me with questions about my naming process. He had been
asked to write on that subject for the British magazine, Furniture
and Cabinetmaking, December 2013 issue. Click
here to see the result including a photo of Partial Eclipse, my
spoon from 2005.
- October 2013 - Thanks to Patrick R. Benesh-Liu for including a
photo of Perseid, my spoon from early 2010, in the present issue of
Ornament Magazine. The article was their annual tribute to the
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in advance of the opening of
the show the first weekend in November. Click
here to see the
- May 2013 - The acquisitions committee of the Fuller Craft Museum has
accepted the donation of 5 spoons to their permanent collection. Two
were donated by Pat McCauley and three by Rebecca Klemm. Images and
descriptions of these spoons can be seen here.
- May 2013 – In addition to my work being added to the collection of
Fuller Craft Museum and being on display in an excellent wood art
show there, an image of one of those pieces was used on the cover of
the show catalog.
Rebecca Klemm's donated piece, Kneeling Spoons, appears on the cover
in the upper right corner. Click
- April 10 – September 22 – Across the Grain: Turned and Carved Wood -
this exhibition includes five spoons recently donated to Fuller
Craft and two spoons on loan from the collection of Fleur Bresler –
additional information available
- April 24, 2013 - Martha Stewart was the Honorary Chairman of the
Smithsonian Craft Show for 2013. She appeared at the opening of the
show visiting most booths including mine. Click
here to see
photo: In addition, on the following day, I appeared on Martha’s
live show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. I was briefly interviewed by
Martha’s craft editor, Hannah Milman. You can see 60 photos of the
- April 2013 – The May 2013 issue of The Crafts Report contains an
article entitled Stirring the Soul, Norm Sartorius Elevates Spoons
to Fine Art. Pages 32 through 37. The Crafts Report is a trade
publication in support of working craftspeople, their work and their
careers. You may view the article and magazine cover
- January 2013 - Black silhouettes of two of my spoons are now part of
a public art project decorating the outside of the Center for Art in
Wood, Philadelphia. Titled Written in Wood, the mural is part of
Philadelphia’s extensive Mural Arts Program. This work by acclaimed
artist Benjamin Volta depicts selected works from the permanent
collection of the Center. You can see how it looks from the street
here as well as a postcard revealing the silhouettes used on the
wall. This is a permanent installation. Additional information about
the Center for Art in Wood may be found
- February 2, 2013 – April 6, 2013 - Three of my spoons will be part
of a show at the Craft in America Study Center, 8415 W. Third
Street, Los Angeles, CA. They are part of a show entitled Good
Enough to Eat: The Fusion of Food and Craft (Food as Subject for
Craft) None of these are for sale. Two are from Diane Bosley’s
collection and the remaining one was generously loaned by William
and Paula Mitchell for this exhibition. Click here for images of
these spoons. Additional information about the exhibition and the
Study Center may be found
September 2012 - “Homage” is
donated to the Yale Art Gallery – My thanks to Ken Spitzbard for his
willingness to give this piece to Yale.
September 2012 - “Conquistador”
is purchased by the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum
thanks to generous donations by Fleur S. Bresler, S. Bruce and
Eleanor Heister, Patricia A. McCauley, James L. Pavitt and Carolyn
K. Stettner, and Kenneth Spitzbard. This spoon was chosen by
Nicholas Bell, The Bresler Curator of American Craft & Decorative
Art at the Renwick Gallery during the 2012 Smithsonian Craft Show.
Late September 2012 - Attended the 2012 CWA Forum in Little Rock,
Arkansas. Visited the Arkansas Arts Center and the Clinton Library.
Spent a day at Robyn & John Horn’s taking in their collection and
participating in a 3 hour sale along with over 20 other artists. On
Sunday we visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in
Bentonville, AR. The architecture of this brand new museum is as
much an attraction as the art it contains. It was a wonderful event
shared with like minded collectors and artists.
October 2012 – Two of my spoons,
Rosewood Spoon and Cocus
Spoon, were donated by Robyn and John Horn to the Columbus
Museum in Columbus, Georgia.
Collectors of Wood Art Forum 2012 Little Rock, AR More than 60
member artists and collectors will return to the site of the
founding event for the Collectors of Wood Art to enjoy a day at the
home of John & Robyn Horn. In addition there will be visits to the
Arkansas Art Center and the Clinton Library ( White House Craft
Collection). Artists will show work during the weekend. Details
May 21 to June 10 – Poplar Culture – The Wharton Esherick Museum is
sponsoring this fundraiser featuring 50 works of art made from a
tulip poplar tree that grew next to Esherick’s studio. I have three
spoons in this exhibition, all of which were inspired by Esherick
sculptures and all made from that tree – the spoons may be viewed
Additional information may be viewed
here or from this
April, 2012 – In early April, my wife, Diane and I visited our son,
Andrew, in Japan for two weeks. He teaches high school English
there. We saw many wonderful temples and shrines, some hundreds of
years old. We also saw ancient Buddhist and Shinto wood sculpture
that was as expressive and beautifully done as a Michelangelo stone
carving. Trees in Japan are groomed and shaped much in the manner of
Bonsai and are living sculptures. We also saw antique Japanese
boxes, utensils for tea ceremony (bamboo), and even had the
opportunity of buy a small sample of two beautiful woods for my
work. Time will tell whether or not this visit will influence my own
carving but we took a lot of photos of trees and wood objects for
future inspiration. Everyone we met there was kind and generous far
beyond our expectation.
April, 2012 – My work received the Silver Award (effectively 3rd
place behind Best in Show and the Gold Award) at the recent
Smithsonian Craft Show. This was for the body of work presented
rather than a single piece. The Awards judges were Nicholas Bell,
Renwick Gallery Curator of Craft & Decorative Art, Dr. Oscar
Fitzgerald, Professor, Smithsonian/George Mason University for
Masters in the History of Decorative Arts, and Carol Sauvion,
Executive Director of Craft in America on PBS. My thanks go to Lois
and Richard England for donating funds for this award. For photo
April, 2012 – American Woodworker magazine # 160, June/July 2012,
has an article about my work in their regular feature “A Great
American Woodworker”. Thanks to author Spike Carlsen for considering
me and to Senior Editor, Tim Johnson, for working with me to improve
the entire presentation. A pdf of the article can be viewed
February 1, 2012 - Ron and Kay Springwater have donated 44 of my
letter openers to the Racine Museum
of Art. Each carved from a different wood, this collection
covers the evolution of handle and blade forms from 1993 to 2011. It
represents well over half of the letter openers they have purchased
during the that time. I am very grateful to the Springwaters for
their consistent support and friendship. These are the first letter
openers of mine in any public collection. Click
here to see images of
some of the donated collection.
August 25, 2011 - One of my spoons was shown and briefly discussed
on the WTTW, Public Television show Chicago Tonight. You may view
this 7 minute segment
woman speaking about my spoon is Carol Sauvion, the producer of the
national PBS show Craft in America.
July 1 – September 30 - Wood
Moving Forward – Blue
Spiral 1, www.bluespiral1.com
This is a regional show and I will have 7 spoons included in the
exhibition. Another wonderful Asheville gallery, Grovewood Gallery
will also feature wood art during the same time period. See
June 30th at Blue Spiral 1.
June 22- 26 - I will be attending the 25th Annual Symposium of the
American Association of Woodturners in St. Paul, MN. This will also
be the site of the 2011 Collector¹s of Wood Art Forum. I will have
one spoon, one letter opener, and two bracelets on display as part
of the Historical Woods of America exhibit. My pieces are made from
Mulberry Burl from George Washington¹s home, Mount Vernon as well as
wood from a Poplar that was part of Thomas Jefferson¹s garden at
Monticello. During this weekend there two new woodworking books will
make their debut: The Cutting Edge: Contemporary Wood Art and the
Lipton Collection: by Kevin Wallace I have not seen this book
yet but I know that some of my spoons are shown. Click
here for an image of the cover. Conversations with
Wood: Selections from the Waterbury Collection This is both a
book title and an exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
(MIA) - see the press release pdf
here. I have one spoon (shown
here) in both the book and
exhibition. This book will be available from the AAW, as well
as from the MIA and the Yale Art Gallery bookstore.
April 2011 – The Ashville Museum of Art (NC) has acquired three of
my spoons thanks to a generous donation by Robyn & John Horn. These
are all early works from 1990 and 1991. Your can click
here to see
March 2011 - Thanks to a generous donation by Ron and Anita Wornick,
the Racine Art Museum has acquired one of my spoons for their
permanent collection. Mahogany Ladle, 1996 – 2.75 x 4.12 x
18.25 inches. In addition I learned that Mahogany Ladle, 1996
had been on display at RAM from September 26, 2010 to January 9,
2011 as part of an exhibition called
Knock Wood, New Gifts to RAM’s Collection. Mahogany Ladle,
1996 may be viewed by clicking
November – During the SOFA Chicago Show the Collectors of Wood
Art held a special exhibition called “Is Ornament a Crime”. This
show was curated by Cindi Strauss, then the decorative arts curator
of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The challenge to artists was to
not embellish surfaces with color, texturing, burning, etc. Instead
she wanted a return to more pure form and line on natural wood
surfaces. My work “Homage” was biographical and expressed the debt I
owe PA/NJ craft artist Emil Milan (1922-1985) Milan taught my first
teachers and even though I never met him I believe my work has been
greatly influenced by his style of work and tool use. This work was
carved using a piece of Cocobolo discarded and recovered from
Milan’s derelict barn studio near Thompson, PA. There was a catalog
published documenting the show. Click
here to see Homage and
here to see the
November 5 – 7 - del Mano Gallery’s exhibition at 2010
SOFA Chicago, . del Mano
is the leading gallery in the US focusing on wood art. Click here
to see the spoons included in this exhibition.
September 24, 2010 – The long awaited exhibition A Revolution
in Wood: the Bresler Collection will open at the Renwick Gallery,
Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. In addition there
is a book with the same title published by the Smithsonian which
includes images of the 66 works of Wood Art donated by the Breslers
to the Renwick. I have several spoons in this exhibition and book. http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2010/bresler/
This show will travel to several museums in the United States
starting in 2012. Click here and
scroll down to see my spoons in the collection. On the opening
day of this show I will be a panelist for a roundtable discussion of
the Bresler’s collection. Curator Nicholas Bell, collector Fleur
Bresler, and wood artists Michelle Holzapfel and Mark Lindquist will
also be on the panel.
July 31, 2010 – Diane and I visited Steve Keeble and Karen
Depew in Chevy Chase, MD where they invited local fans of wood art
to a couple hours of conversation about spoon carving and
collecting. You can see some images of this event at: http://cwasplinters.blogspot.com/2010/08/norm-sartorius-visits-dc-cwa.html
June 2010 – the small book A Gathering of Spoons, Selections
from the Collection of Norman Stevens, becomes available from the
AAW Gallery of Wood Art, http://www.galleryofwoodart.org , you may
view the book here.
June 2010 – I spent a wonderful day researching the exhibit
history of Emil Milan at the Newark Museum of Art in the 1950’s
and 1960s. He was the leading seller of craft over this period of
time at the museum’s annual Christmas crafts show.
June 2010 – I attended one day of the AAW Symposium in
Hartford, CT primarily supporting Norman Steven’s spoon exhibit
there. I was there long enough to understand that these are
wonderful events and I should make an effort to attend future
symposia where possible.
May 2010 - I have 3 pages of text and photos in the new book Wood
Art Today 2 by Jeffery Snyder, from Schiffer Publishing. This is an
opulent coffee table book profiling the work of many of today’s
leading wood artists. Click here to view the cover and my
I have 3 spoons in the show Contemporary Wood Art: Collectors’
Selections presently on exhibit at the Wood Turning Center in
Philadelphia, PA. Two are from the permanent collection of the WTC
and one is for sale (Twig Spoon, 2007, Available Work) - this show
will close on March 20, 2010. Click here
for more information.
I have one spoon in the new exhibition A Gathering of Spoons at
of Wood Art operated by the AAW in St. Paul, MN - - this
same exhibition will be part of the Annual AAW Symposium in Harford,
CT in June. There will also be a small book/catalog available in
Hartford to accompany this exhibit. Both of these shows reveal part
of collector, Norman Stevens, vast collection of 9 inch wooded
spoons from in excess of 175 makers around the globe.
- December 7, 2009 - We stopped at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh to
see the newly re-opened decorative arts area; the Ailsa Mellon
Bruce Galleries of Decorative Arts and Design. The entrance takes
you past some very ornate French furniture then around a U shaped
space where the display transitions to more contemporary work. At
the end just before you pass through the exit doors are two wall
cases with glass fronts. The one on the right has 4 of my spoons.
The spoons are in with two Ellsworths, the 3 generations of
Moulthrup, and two Hunters. The second case, even closer to the
exit door, has Harvey Fein on the wall, Ron Kent and Rude Osolnik
on upper shelves and Liam Flynn, Virginia Dotson, Ron Layport, Bin
Pho, John Jordon, and Michelle Holzapfel going left to right. You
can see images here. This decorative arts room of the
Carnegie has been closed for a long time for renovation and
restoration. More here.
- November 11, 2009 – Awarded Best in Show at the Philadelphia
Museum of Art Craft Show. Click here
to see a very surprised and happy spoon carver.
- October 1, 2009 – Awarded $14,000 Craft Research Fund Grant
from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design. For 15 months I
have (along with friends and research partners Phil Jurus and
Barry Gordon) been researching the life and work of deceased
woodworker Emil Milan (1922-1985). Phil Jurus was my first
woodworking teacher in Baltimore in the mid 1970s. He studied
under Emil Milan. We wanted to learn more about this undocumented
carver and teacher and we wanted to make our findings available to
museums and universities with an interest in Milan. This is an
ongoing project which will end in early 2011. An article written
by team member Barry Gordon recently appeared in the Winter 2010
issue of Woodwork magazine profiling Emil Milan’s life and work.
You can read that article here.
- June 3rd – June 6th, 2009 - Echo Lake – Buck County
Community College - I was invited to participate in this wonderful
annual collaborative event modeled on the Emma Lake International
Collaborative in Canada. It was a fantastic event shared with
imaginative and talented artists including Betty Scarpino, Malcolm
Zander, Mark Sfirri, Michael Mocho, Bill Smith, and Derek Weidman.
Click here to see images of the pieces to which I contributed.
- May 2 – June 6, 2009 – Turned Wood –Small Treasures –
del Mano Gallery - This annual exhibition of small work included 3
of my spoons. You can see these spoons and the rest of this
wonderful show here.
- March 6 – April 11, 2009 – Selections From the Collection:
Donations by Bruce Kaiser and Joe Seltzer - One spoon from the
permanent collection (Amboyna Burl Spoon – Donated by Bruce
Kaiser) and one new spoon which is for sale ( Mystery Spoon) are
part of this exhibition. You may view the show online here.
- January 2009 – John & Robyn Horn donated two of my spoons
to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. To view the spoons,
- January 2009 – Bruce Kaiser donated my 1995 large Amboyna Burl
Spoon to the permanent collection of the Wood Turning Center.
to see it.
- December 5, 2008 - February 13, 2009, In the Palm of Your Hand.
I have 5 spoons in this show at the Messler Gallery which is part
of the Center
for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. Click here to
see these spoons.
- November 2008 – Thanks to the generosity of longtime collector
and friend, Pat McCauley, three of my spoons were acquired by the
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- October 3, 2008 – January 17, 2009, dysFUNctional, Wood
Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA. I have one spoon in this show
called “Old & in the Way”. There is a book of the show.
The entire show will tour for 3 years after it closes at the Wood
Turning Center. You can see much more about the show at
www.woodturningcenter.org. To see “Old & in the Way”,
- Early August – I attended the Emma International Collaborative
for the second time – it was a fantastic week of work outside my usual parameters
shared with 100 wonderful artists from North America, Australia,
and New Zealand – pieces I worked on appear in both the Archives
and Available work sections. To see these pieces click here.
- Summer 2008 – An article about my work is featured in the Summer
2008 issue of The Hill, the alumni magazine of McDaniel College.
It largely repeats Terry Martin’s article from Woodwork June 2006
with some new photos and text. See the
Biography for the full article.
- March 22 - July 20 - Masters of Design - Mint Museum of
Craft and Design - My work entitled "Sperm
Spoons" is a part of this exhibition. http://www.mintmuseum.org
- January – Attended CWA Forum in Scottsdale, AZ and
exhibited 5 spoons in the del Mano Gallery display.
- January – The Art
of Wood Jewelry , Lark Books, is published. One of
my bracelets is featured on the book jacket and I have a how-to article
inside about the making of one design along with a couple more photos.
- Gregg Museum of Art & Design,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, January 2007, three
spoons donated to the permanent collection by Robyn and John Horn.
- Woodwork Magazine, Issue 104, April
2007, Page 18, Craft in America article, “Bee the Spoon”
- Turned Wood Small Treasures, Del Mano
Gallery, March 17 through April 14, 2007, three spoons exhibited.
- American Craft Show in Baltimore,
- “Bee the Spoon”, Craft in America
touring exhibition, Little Rock, Arkansas, Portland, Oregon and
San Diego, California, 2007.
- Michael Hosaluk: Containment
Exhibition, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada,
January 19 through April 2, 2007 - The exhibition was based on
Michael Hosaluk providing a basic small wooden chair frame to 20
artists to change, enhance, adapt in any manner they wished. My
chair sculpture reflected a health issue that became the dominant
event in my life at the end of 2006.
- Regional 07, Parkersburg Art Center,
May 6 through July 1, 2007, “Emma Perfect” from Emma Lake 2006
and a sculpture, “Spoon Dreams II” were exhibited. “Spoon
Dreams II”, Second Place Award in the 3D category.
- Bethesda Public Library, Bethesda, MD,
May 1 to June 3, 2007, a spoon exhibited from the collection of
Arthur and Jane Mason.
- American Craft Exposition – August
- American Craft Exposition, 2007 –
Award of Excellence.
- WV Juried Exhibition 2007, “Spoon
Dreams II” and “Pan’s Mandrake”.
- Merit Award for “Pan’s Mandrake”
owned by Karen Depew and Steve Keeble.
- Parkersburg News and Sentinel,
September 2, 2007, Article “Art Bias” – Photo with “Spoon
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show
– November, 2007.
- Washington Craft Show – December
- Nominated to the Board of Directors of
the Collectors of Wood Art.