Woodworking Tradition – the art of Dave Borba

Dave Borba

Dave Borba

One of these days I’m going to have a wake for Palmer’s Gallery. I loved that place. We met a lot of great friends via that gallery. One such friend who we first encountered at Palmer’s is Dave Borba. We’ve stayed in touch and go out to each other’s openings and shows as often as we can.

Old Shepp's Hammer Claw

Old Shepp's Hammer Claw

Dave has done just about every kind of creative work, from illustration to photography. His recent projects have mainly been made through wood working, which he learned to do as a kid. Even though they hang on a wall, Dave hopes you will do more than just look at them. Reach out and pull a lever and the hillbilly dog will move her jaw like she is singing. Tug a key and watch the beautiful little heart’s wings flutter.

When Dave wrote in his artist statement about why he enjoys using traditional methods for his work, it sounded like I wrote it myself:

“I hope to invoke nostalgia for a time when people were more grounded to their surroundings through their daily activities. An era when craftsmanship could provide a living, and creativity was a necessity to make it from one day to another. A time when we had relationships with our neighbors, our co-workers, our food, our clothes and our families.”

Winged Heart

Love's Wings

I love it when artists get all geeky and sentimental about their methods and materials. Here’s Dave on working with wood and even his old tools:

“One of my earliest memories of woodworking is a recollection of my Grandfather making long curls of pine sliced swiftly off a board while he pushed one of his many planes. The unmistakable scent of fresh cut wood would fill the air as the “Shirley Temples” fell to the floor. He’d willingly round up a piece of wood just to make them for me if I asked. It always amazed me!  My grandfather taught me how to swing a hammer, cross cut a board with one of his old Diston saws, and cut “forty-fives” with his old cast iron miter box. Although we never did build anything together that I can recall, he left me a chest of hand tools and more importantly a desire to get to know him through the way of sawdust and the shaping of wood.”

Even though it is a different art form, when I feel a wool or cotton fiber running through my fingers, working it up to meet is potential, I feel exactly the same way Dave describes above. Like a thousand prairie women are singing a hymn that can only be heard by those who have been initiated into “the  joy of working with your hands.”

Come see Dave’s stuff at the Art Duh show opening up on April 23!

Devil Boy

Devil Boy

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