Recent Carvings of Birds
I recently became aware of the work of Emil Milan (May 17, 1922 – April 5, 1985). Upon discovering him online, I was immediately inspired and awed by the fluid shapes and simplicity of the pieces. Below are three recent carvings inspired by this innovator in woodworking methods.
Milan was an American woodworker known for his carved bowls, birds, and other accessories and art in wood. Trained as a sculptor at the Art Students League of New York, he designed and made wooden ware in the New York City metropolitan area, and later in rural Pennsylvania where he lived alone and used his barn as a workshop. Once prominent in midcentury modern design, Milan slipped into obscurity after his death. His legacy has been revived by an extensive biographical research project that has led to renewed interest in his life, work, and influence.
Throughout his career, Milan used a wide range of woods including domestic hardwoods such as maple, walnut, and black cherry, as well as exotic imported species such as zebrawood, padouk, cocobolo, bubinga, lapacho, and rosewood. Silver components occasionally were added to functional wooden works, and he made a few cheese boards with flat ceramic inserts as cutting surfaces. He was frugal with wood and used scraps to make saleable functional and art objects. Cutouts from large bowl forms, for example, were used to make fish, birds, and abstract sculptures, and the remaining pieces were used to make small salt bowls and spoons.
Bird Carvings; Slide 1, Cherry, Slide 2, Poplar and Walnut.