Little John’s Artist Statement-
Inspired by found objects and mother nature’s beauty, I make brooms that express my creativity and make me feel good. With handmade brooms I’ve gone in a different direction – functional but playful. I see each broom as having its own personality; sometimes they even talk to me before I begin.
In The Beginning……
Through out my school years I explored various mediums to express my creativity and develop my skills. I took every art class that I could. I spent much of my time in the art room, especially in high school. The direction and guidance I received during those years had a big impact on me. The pieces I was creating were more than the scribbles and popsicle stick sculptures from elementary school. I explored lost wax casting of metals for jewelry, etching metal in an acid bath, cutting stones on a wet stone lapidary grinder, pottery, painting with oil, acrylic, and watercolor. I also spent numerous hours engaged in drawing still life and making charcoal sketches. After high school I took a few college art classes. The basic classes I took proved to be a reiteration of things I had already been practicing.
My Next Phase…..
My quest continued as I was searching for my niche. I was looking for the medium that felt most comfortable to me and would allow me to use the many skills that I had learned over the years. A few years later I discovered the art of woodcarving. I enjoyed the endless possibilities of wood, the various species, colors, and unlimited projects were appealing. The time involved was a bit of a drawback k and the danger of using razor sharp knives made me keep looking for my niche.
The Path To Broom Making…….
One day I decided to go to a festival where there was a workshop on “how to make a besom”. I had no idea what a besom was and asked the man who was teaching the class. He explained that a besom is the old english term for broom and that’s all I needed, I signed up and completely enjoyed the class. Soon after I purchased the materials to reproduce the broom that I made in class and I was on my way. I called my teacher and arranged for some advanced broom making classes. With the advanced classes I learned how to make a few other types of brooms. This new infusion of knowledge was what I needed to send me further in the direction of broom making as an art form.
I really enjoy broom making because there are so many possibilities. The path I follow when I make each type of broom depends on what handle to use, color of broomcorn, whether to plait or braid the broomcorn on the handle, color of twine, etc. The handles alone provide me with a lot of variance in each broom. All of the things I’ve learned in the past come together with my broom handles. If I want to do any carving on the wood, the many species of trees, found objects and any other detailing all come into play when I choose and create my broom handles. My work also has plenty of room for collaboration with other artists. I love seeing what fresh ideas new people can bring to the brooms. Their skills may bring a new picture of beauty to my work through the design of broom handles, a different way of tying or just something totally abstract. I want to be open to anything. Finally I think I’ve found my niche.