2009 International Turning Exchange Residency Program

•August 7, 2009 • Comments Off on 2009 International Turning Exchange Residency Program

Click Here to find out more about the ITE program at the Wood Turning Center

come to me dancing

•August 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

secondary sale of a come to me dancing piece, does not work with my clients cats, I will create a low form piece to replace this one. This piece is a beauty. Write mauiwoodartist@aol.com for more details.Derek Bencomo Wood & Glass

please visit my blog site

•August 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Please visit my blog site as I will no longer be posting on the ITE site.

new wood and new work coming soon

•August 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

just finished placing my orders and some great wood. Cant wait to start the new pieces for my next exhibits, got my course plotted out for the next 18 months, will share when they are ready

Back on Maui

•August 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Back on Maui, nice…..time to make up for some lost beach time


•August 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A brief history of my body of work and how a “series” can develop into another series.

My first true series started in 1995 with “Peaks and Valleys.” The first piece was purchased by20the State of Hawaii in 1995, and this was the first sculptural piece that I had publicly exhibited. From 1995 to about early 2000, this body of work made a huge surge on the art scene, being shown at the American Craft Museum and the Renwick at the Smithsonian in 1998. These pieces were all horizontally oriented.

I launched my “Pacific Rim” series in late 1999, which was an introduction of my vertical body of work based on the “Peaks and Valleys” series. My work at this point had gained much attention, and the “Pacific Rim” series was well received. These pieces had “fins” starting at the top and ending in individual feet, which became a signature feature of my work. By late 2000, the “Pacific Rims” series was complete. While brief, it had a major impact on my future work, notably the “Come to me Dancing” and “Ocean Harmony” series. These two new series were developed to explore horizontal works and vertical works separately. The “Come to me Dancing” series was inspired by a mishap with a “Pacific Rim” piece, which at the time had the fins coming down into the feet, on which I did not have enough room at the bottom for five feet. I brought two fins together, thus forming the now distinctive pointed feet on the “Come to me Dancing” series, which has three feet instead of=2 0five, and which has six fins instead of five, where the six fins merge at the bottom into three feet.

The “Ocean Harmony” series was started in 2000 and continues today, mainly because each piece is more unique as the forms are defined by the shapes of the logs from which they come.

In early 2001 I introduced my “Still Dancing” series, which began as a “Come to me Dancing” piece with three of the sides cut out. I only produced about ten of these works, as I wanted to further develop this design, and the “Come to me Dancing” series was in demand. In late 2001, I reintroduced the “Still Dancing” series as my “Shadow Dancer” series, with a more refined form. These pieces were designed to have light play against the carved cut-out forms to produce shadows dancing against the surfaces that they were displayed on or against. These pieces were produced in very limited quantities.
The majority of my “Come to me Dancing” pieces were created from 2001 to 2007.

Another important body of work comes from my “Gift from the Sea” and “Gift from the Rain Forest” series. These works are larger in scale and are larger versions of my “Ocean Harmony” series, but with more detail. These pieces are only included in these two series, if I fill that they are exceptional. I have only included 12 of these works in these series in the last 20 years, eight of these works are in museum collections. I have one of these works left and I will be not producing any more large works due to the strain on my elbow.

In 2007 I introduced my “Wave Dancer” series. This series evolved from the “Ocean Harmony” series and the “Shadow Dancer” series. These are horizontally-based and have cut-outs, or negative space, on the sides. This series is relatively unknown because I only made ten pieces and they were purchased before they could be put on exhibit.

My “Technical Ecstasy” series was also being developed at the same time. This body of work consists of six sculptures in one, as it can be displayed on six different views. I have only made two of these pieces, as nerved damage developed in my elbow which sidelined me for over a year. I participated in the artist in residence program at The Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia in the summer of 2009, in which I produced a tremendous body of work and was able to create a new important piece entitled “Two Forms.”

Ongoing, I will continue to create pieces in the “Wave Dancer” series, and limited time will be put into the “Technical Ecstasy” series due the amount of time and hard physical labor these pieces demand. The “Ocean Harmony” series will continue as opportunities arise, as its designs will always be fresh with each new log. The ‘Two Forms” will be further explored, but I expect to only produce one to two pieces a year for that series.

My “Come to me Dancing” series is being retired, as its exploration feels complete. However, I will consider introducing one great piece from this series each year in a very special wood to honor a design that is probably the most influential of my career. As I was researching the history of my works, it accrued to me that out of the 50 pieces that I have in museum collections very few “Come to me Dancing ” works are in museums if any…..I wonder why?


Derek Bencomo

Artist Profile: Jerome Blanc

•August 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Jerome at the LatheJerome's Portrait









Jerome is a thoughtful, serious young man who is quick to smile.  The banter between him and Robert was a delight to witness; most comments focused on familiarizing Jerome with aspects of American vernacular language. On his first trip to the US, Jerome was receptive yet critical of what he experienced. On one hand enthralled with the sculpture garden of Greg and Regina Rhoa and an aesthetic sensibility he directly associated with America, he was, on the other, horrified by American abject consumerism. Along with other factors hinging on social commentary this may serve as fodder for new works on the horizon. The piece “Fashion Victim” is Jerome’s hollow turned bowl that bespeaks of buying things you don’t need.  A scanty lace panty was the inspiration for this work, whose volcano like shape was based on an earlier bowl entitled “Magma”.  He painted the bowl the same fuchsia color as the garment and transferred the lace pattern on it.  This piece was designed to titillate and arouse questions.  Why a panty?  Why not?  It gives the viewer something to think about, he says; however, I am sure there is a more personal story behind the selection.


Jerome is concerned with how using wood can determine the outcome of the creative process, as well as being driven by an idea and the use of materials to actualize that idea. He is also greatly affected by his environment, whether it is the mountainous regions of his home in Switzerland or the urban sprawl of an American city such as Philadelphia or New York.  Each piece he makes has a story and many of his works are illusionistic in which the material translates into something else.  For example, a work created in wood to resemble the Salére mountains in Switzerland actually looked like stone, in another work he constructs a wooden vase to appear as a ceramic object. This element of surprise is something Jerome seeks in all of his work. 


Although Jerome’s training was as a craft artist, he views himself as a sculptor.  His father and grandfather were both metalsmiths.  His father primarily works by commission and is an inventor as well.  Jerome was expected to follow in the family tradition, but he chose to work in wood and trained for five years as a cabinet/furniture maker.  He attended the Art et Metiers, which was steeped in the study of traditional design and architecture.  After graduation in 2000, Jerome went to Australia to study English.  It was there that he took a wood turning course and this opened up a whole new avenue for him. He returned to his hometown Geneva with a renewed commitment to finding new ways to create furniture and turned objects.


Jerome Blanc came to the International Turning Exchange with the intent to continue the direction of his old work while being open to completely new ways of working.  He accomplished the latter by making prints on paper using the lathe.  He attached paper to a partially turned piece of wood and used the rotation of the lathe to create striated marks in different designs on the paper.  Black white and red were the dominate colors in this series of prints; he also engraved in the wood and transferred the marks onto the paper by rubbing the surface with graphite.  The result of this process was compelling pieces that in some way complemented what he was doing in his wooden sculpture. His sculpture and prints attest to the fact that Jerome does not consider using the lathe as merely a means to an end but part of the evolutionary process of making art.


•August 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Technical Ecstasy is a tour de force of my most recent work. It gets it’s name because it is 6 different sculptures in one. This piece can be displayed on six different sides.So as I am working pieces like this I am designing six different looks on one piece of wood.
The wood that I used is Hawaiian Kolohala wood also know as Pheasant wood. If you look at the grain you can see a pattern of feathers in the grain. Another rare wood from Hawaii as I only have been able to get 6 small logs of this in the last 21 years, This wood grows hard and dense, and it is not uncommon to cut into a log that will have stress cracks running up the heart of the tree, which makes large pieces of wood hard to get. As with my other Pre ITE pieces this is the last of my Pheasant wood supply. This piece was exhibited in the Honolulu Contemporary Museum’s 20 anniversary exhibitioncontempo 2 tony 030contempo 2 tony 032


•August 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This sandalwood piece is my only ‘double ocean harmony” that I have ever done. Hawaiian sandalwood is one of the most rarest woods in the world. I was lucky to get some small pieces in 1998. I would make one piece a year out of my supply of sandalwood. This in my last piece of sandalwood. Please enjoy the history of this wood from Hawaii.Fur traders looking for alternate goods for the Canton market started the sandalwood trade. Chinese used the fragrant heart wood for incense, medicinal purposes, for architectural details and carved objects. Hawaiians were long familiar with the wood they called ‘iliahi; seven species grew in the Islands. While trade in Hawaiian sandalwood began as early as the 1790s, it didn’t take off until fur prices began to drop around 1810.

In 1811, an agreement between Boston ship captains and Kamehameha established a monopoly on sandalwood exports with Kamehameha receiving 25% of the profits. This agreement stood for only one shipment, though, and shortly thereafter the War of 1812 resulted in a British blockade of Hawai’i for two years. When a vigorous trade resumed in 1814, Kamehameha controlled it as a near-monopoly through the use of his agents. While a few individual chiefs also dealt directly with traders, it was not until the death of Kamehameha I that a wholesale pillaging of sandalwood forests took place. While Kamehameha I still held the reigns, he placed a kapu on young trees and no transaction was ever done on credit.

As trade and shipping brought Hawai’i into contact with a wider world, it also enabled the acquisition of Western goods, including arms and ammunition. Kamehameha used Western cannon and guns to great advantage in his unification of the Islands and also acquired Western-style ships, buying the brig Columbia for a price of two ship loads of sandalwood in 1817.

After Kamehameha’s death, his son Kamehameha II fell into debt with sandalwood traders. Having given away his own lands, he relied on the wood supplies of others, but he was unable to stop other chiefs from negotiating their own trade deals. By 1826, American traders were complaining about the debts owed by the king and chiefs and a general tax was imposed to pay off some of their collective debt. Traders played off the rivalry among chiefs to get the best price, ultimately accelerating the depletion of forests. The wood was sold by weight using a measure called a picul (133 1/3 pounds or about what a strong man could carry on his back). Traders made a profit of three to four dollars on each picul they bought in Hawai’i (at $7-$10) and then sold in Canton. As logging continued, wood quality degenerated and stands of sandalwood were harder to find. Natives set fire to areas to detect the trees by their sweet scent. While mature trees could withstand the fire, the flames wiped out new seedlings.
By 1830, the trade in sandalwood had completely collapsed. Hawaiian forests were exhausted and sandalwood from India and other areas in the Pacific drove down the price in Canton and made the Hawaiian trade unprofitable. Although forests were ravaged, sandalwood trees still survive today, tucked away on less accessible mountain slopes.

DerekBiancomo SANDALWOOD


•August 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This piece of sculpture was made from a log of Hawaiian Kamani wood harvested in 1995.The wood is hard and dense and is extremely difficult to work. This piece is one of the top three largest pieces that I have ever made and will be the last large piece that i will due to an injury to my elbow.
The log weight in at 400 pounds and took about 300 hours of carving and another 175 in sanding and hand rubbing an oil finish.
Gift from the Rain Forest and Gift from the Sea are my most important works with only 13 made in the last 21 years. Most of these works are in museum collections. This piece was just exhibited in the Honolulu Contemporary Museum’s 20 anniversity exhibitcontempo 2 tony 020