one man’s struggle
By TERRI LIKENS
Wood sculptor Greg Windsor works in an idyllic setting.
His studio is one part borrowed shed, one part clearing in a small patch of woods off of Kingston’s James Ferry Road. Sunlight filters through sycamore branches and braids of smoke twist from a small fire just big enough to ward off the morning chill.
On this day, Windsor works outside. Around him, birds sing of their virtues to potential mates and a blue heeler entertains herself, romping through the woods and wrenching fallen branches from imaginary foes.
Sometimes deer peer out of the woods to watch the artist at work.
Windsor is no stranger to idyllic settings. His art and wanderlust have taken him to France and more recently, to the magical landscapes of New
He worked and played in tall, snowy mountains, climbed glaciers, explored the deep forests and made friends in colorful coastal fishing villages.
Friends in Kingston have taken in Windsor as he makes the transition back to life in the states. His New Zealand travels have influenced his art.
Today, the 35-year-old is working on a series of bold totems inspired by the work of Maori tribal carvers. He keeps pictures of their work in a photo album. Looking over one photo, his finger traces the intricate patterns on larger than life wooden figures of human warriors.
Maori carvers use no mechanized tools, Windsor says.
Windsor tells you – almost apologetically – that his work is crafted with everything from chisel to chain saw.
He admires the time Maori carvers spend with their wood, the intimacy they must feel with the grain. Even the trees grow slower in New Zealand, Windsor
His travels have influenced his philosophy, not just his art.
“American time is different,” Windsor says. “We want everything fast and right away.”
He drags the toe of his shoe in the sawdust, unconsciously tracing patterns as he talks. Windsor admits he yearns for New Zealand time, where lingering with people is considered more important than working to own the latest gadget or fashion.
“Pretty much everything I own is in a backpack,” he admits.
He is living with friends Shane and Cheryl Cruttenden, but he believes in self-reliance. Later in the day, he’ll make arrangements for a regular job, a car and insurance. Shane Cruttenden works in Oak Ridge for a technical firm seeking to build a high-efficiency engine for cars and other uses. The shaggy-haired Windsor is amazed at how much he and Cruttenden have to talk about.
“He’s doing prototypes; I’m doing one-of-a-kinds,” Windsor says. “Also, the difficulties of trying to find funding. The similarities are incredible.”
As Windsor makes the transition back in the states, he is an artist torn.
“I yearn for a base,” he says. He also admits that he wonders what’s “out there” that he might be missing.
Whether he’ll teach, dive deeper into his art or, as he says, take off across the Pacific and marry a Kiwi woman is unclear.
Even if he does take off again, Windsor doesn’t think that he’s all that different from people who find steady jobs and settle in one place.
They satisfy their wanderlust in front of the TV with the remote control clutched firmly in their hands.
“Click, click, click – they can’t stay on one channel,” he says, grinning.
To learn more about Windsor’s work or to contact him about purchasing a piece, you can e-mail the artist at email@example.com.