The turning wood
Summit is partnering with Nohea Gallery to share the stories of Hawaii's artisans.
Andy Cole is not one to waste material on his art.
That's because of his unabashed enthusiasm for the woodwork he's recognized for. For 12 years, Cole has carved out a reputation for himself as a respected artist. His turned bowls and especially his nested bowl sets have garnered him satisfied clients and prize-winning works.
But while koa is still the king of Hawaiian woods, Cole prides himself on working with logs of discarded and salvaged wood. He's pretty much worked with it all—Norfolk island pine, mango, milo, even the difficult-to-manipulate macadamia nut—and turned them into pieces anyone would be proud to display in their home.
His nested bowl sets—cutting and shaping as many as seven bowls out of concentric circles cut from any given log—are his pride and joy. But even it means splitting up the set to better sell, he has a willingness to share.
He's enthusiastic in his description of the process of what can be revealed from the natural material, as it's secured on a lathe, and with the careful handling and manipulation of his cutting and shaping tools sending out sprays of wood chips, one can really see the thoughtful consideration put into his work.
“I like to use what the wind blows down," Cole said. “The only wood I purchase is koa. But there's nothing like the feeling of taking unwanted wood that, say, came from a landfill, accentuate its beauty, and turn it into treasure."
He already has a rough idea what he can do with any given wood when he places it on the lathe. Cole particularly likes making natural edge bowls, using the jagged, uneven darkened bark to provide a contrast to the lighter, inner layers. Cole feels it makes for a more organic piece.
You can find Andy Cole's work at Nohea Gallery at 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. Nohea Gallery is open 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays.