Lael Gordon: Prismatic Patterns
Raised the son of a shipwright in southern Alaska, Lael Gordon was always comfortable with tools and machinery. He chose a teaching career, but took up woodworking as a hobby. As he got more serious about working wood, he took a year away from teaching to study furniture making at the Inside Passage School, a program near Vancouver based on James Krenov’s teachings. While there, Gordon began experimenting with what he calls “prismatics”–marquetry patterns created not in the usual manner, by using contrasting species of veneer, but simply by controlling and arranging the orientation of the grain in pieces of veneer of a single species.
After his year at Inside Passage, Gordon considered a career making furniture. But he recognized that the joy for him lay in making an exploration of each piece he built; rather than struggle against that impulse in order to make money, he decided to go back to teaching math at a technical college and devote his spare time and summers to new work in wood.
This slide show presents a series of Gordon’s explorations in embellishment.