In the Studio with Bayley Wharton
By Elizabeth Harry
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Right now through November 5, 2017, we’ve got five really cool artists in GreenHill’s InFocus Gallery for a show entitled Obersvational Abstraction. We’re going to introduce you to those 5 artists over the next few weeks. This week: Bayley Wharton.

InFocus Gallery aims to fulfill GreenHill’s mission to support North Carolina artists by encouraging a thriving NC art market. We invite individuals and corporations, whether first-time art buyers or seasoned collectors, to work with the GreenHill team to find the perfect piece for your space, taste, and budget – and get to know the artists in your own back yard!

Furniture maker Bayley Wharton says, “let the wood speak for itself.” Wharton selects wood based on how and why it will be used in a piece of furniture. A natural edge on a slab of walnut, for example, becomes the top of a bench, letting the natural color and shape of the wood be the focal point. Wharton learned furniture making and design at NC State University, Raleigh, NC; a work study at Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, CO; and is also self-taught. He lives and works in Mt. Airy, NC.

Artist Statement:

Design integrity in any medium begins with an honest approach towards materials and processes. I place an emphasis on function, strength, and simplicity with a touch of intrigue, while allowing the natural beauty of the wood to stand out. The latter has become my slogan: Let the wood speak for itself.

Some pieces are made in mass, others are one-of-a-kind, but all are designed and built for daily use while being a thing of elegance. Wood is selected according to how and where it will be used within the object, then I use natural finishes (oil & lacquer) rather than stains, so one can see the original color. Rather than nonfunctional ornamentation, I use joinery as a focal point, as well as means of making some of the pieces knockdown.

I learned furniture making & design at NC State University, Anderson Ranch, the furniture industry, and am self taught as well. Much of my work takes on architectural aspects, in particular traditional Japanese architecture, which while not the sole inspiration behind my design, became a logical vehicle to carry forth my sensibilities about function, strength, simplicity, intrigue, and the beauty of wood.

Conventional woodworking techniques with hand and power tools are used throughout the entire process. Solid wood construction (not veneered) is my method of choice for all parts of my furniture except chair backs and seats, and the large curved headboards on my platform beds. For these parts, I make my own veneers by resawing 8/4 lumber, and bookmatching the resulting slices. I do my own lamination in a vacuum press. This technique allows a construction with compound curves, a thin lightweight profile, and unequaled dimensional stability that isn't possible using any other technique.

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