MARIA PATTERSON

"I carve to give myself a brain break from technology and computers, engaging in something entirely different.”

MARIA PATTERSON

CityIndianapolis
CountyMarion
Wood
AvailabilityCommissions
COMMISSIONS / SPECIAL ORDERS
yes
INDIANA ARTISAN STORES
Carmel Store, French Lick Store

Maria Patterson’s path to woodcarving started more than a decade ago, following her pursuit of a Ph.D. in Astronomy, when she needed a respite from her tech-centric day job in data science and software development. Carving allows her to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the natural one.

“Woodcarving is a form of meditation. It requires patience, focus and being fully present in the moment, giving your mind space to be creative,” says Maria.

The Indianapolis artist uses only hand tools to create characters bursting with personality that emerge and then retreat into the wood’s flat surface. Flowing hair morphs into autumn leaves, while a beard gradually disappears into the natural wood grain. Eyebrows arch high in the forehead, transforming into delicate willow leaves.

Maria finds inspiration in the beauty of the grain and uniqueness of each piece of wood. Wielding a knife and chisel-like tools called gouges, she whittles and shaves basswood for her intricate, often amusing, sculptures and ornaments. To carve whimsical wood spirits and fairy houses, she chooses cottonwood, whose bark, she says, is an adventure of discovery. Each piece reveals a distinctive canvas after she chips away the outer layers.

“Carving each individual piece of wood is a unique process requiring skilled craftsmanship because of the difference in grain patterns,” Maria explains. “With every cut, more of the grain is revealed, and the next cut needs to respond to each reveal.”

A mentorship under fellow Indiana Artisan Steve Wolf at the Indianapolis Art Center has enriched Maria’s understanding of working with wood. Her pieces have exhibited at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, the Alpharetta (Georgia) Arts Center in Georgia, and the Rosewood Art Gallery in Kettering, Ohio, among others.

Maria’s journey as a woodcarver continues to unfold, guided by curiosity, passion and a deep appreciation for the natural world. With each carving, she invites others to share in the wonder and joy that carving brings to her life.

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