‘The Perfect Foil to Painting’
Name: Fielding Archer
What he does: Twisted candle holders made from various regional woods.
Website: fieldinggoods.com (coming soon)
Original inspiration: Archer was naturally creative and experimental. He bought a used wood lathe and taught himself how to use it, starting with an oak from his pile of firewood. “I started turning it and it turned into a candle holder,” he says. “So I made 10 more and gave them as Christmas presents.”
The process: In contrast to his lifelong portraiture vocation, which requires planning and months of work, the improvisational nature of making the candlesticks is what Archer enjoys most. “I love how they develop as I work … sometimes curvy, sometimes with harder edges,” he says. “I always try different shapes.” Free from design constraints, he tells customers what he has available and they choose. “This is so far from painting,” he explains. “I just need a lathe and a sharp chisel … no ruler, no pencil. It’s the perfect slide for painting. “
About the bizarre lines of his candlesticks, Archer says: “I like to create shapes that seem strange to me and are not recognizable as colonial or baroque or something else I’ve ever seen.” up to 18 inches and each is coated with a layer of locally harvested beeswax. His first retail order was from Deborah Boschen, owner of Richmond Verdalina womenswear. “She wanted something for her store, so I gave her a couple and [then] I couldn’t do it fast enough, ”says Archer.
One advantage of this new pursuit is that the raw materials are free. “I like the fact that everything found wood,” says Archer, who rinses while cycling or in the woods near his house. He has experimented with a variety of woods including maple, plum, river birch, elm, and grasshopper, and he has developed favorites – dogwood in particular. “I hate it when a good dogwood is wasted,” he says. “It’s thin and I can make smaller candle holders that can be very elegant.”
Fun fact: Archer is also in production with an innovative flat pack furniture line designed to be easy to transport (in your trunk) and assemble (in two minutes). Tables, chairs and sofas will be available this spring.