On Friday, Dec. 6, a “Trees of our Lives” exhibit by T. Benjamin Hobbs will open at 5 p.m. at the arts council, located at 179 Front St. in Owego. The opening will run from 5 to 8 p.m. during the annual Lights on the River festival, and the exhibit will be on display after that until Dec. 21.
Trees of Our Lives by T. Benjamin Hobbs, of Stanton Hill Studios, is an exhibit of contemporary studio furniture made using lumber from native hardwood trees we commonly encounter in our daily lives.
Hobbs described this work, writing, “The son of an artist and an engineer, my earliest memories are of watching them as they worked on various art and remodeling projects around the family farm where I grew up and still live and work. You can also say my exposure to wood work started generations before that in the northern Adirondacks where my father grew up working with his father and grandfather in the family sawmill cutting lumber and making custom millwork.”
After graduating from Owego Free Academy, Hobbs attended R.I.T. and received a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in woodworking and furniture design with a minor in metal-smithing from the School of American Crafts. While at R. I. T. he received training in a wide variety of joinery techniques and safe and effective use of hand and power equipment. He also gained an understanding in the eccentricities of wood as a moving, changing media that can split or warp if not allowed to move freely.
He added that a strong foundation in design principles was also emphasized as much or more than the technical skills with each student encouraged to express their own artistic vision through the creation of an originally designed and executed project each semester.
He wrote, “My time studying woodworking and furniture design gave me a strong foundation and prepared me to be able to come home and open Stanton Hill Studios and start really learning the Art of furniture design.”
Many of the pieces on display in this exhibit had their start right here in the woods of Tioga County. Hobbs carefully selects trees for thinning so the remaining woods are left healthier and with more space to grow. On several occasions’ friends, neighbors and customers have provided him with trees that were damaged or toppled by Mother Nature during storms.
Once he has the trees cut to manageable lengths, they are sawn into boards on a sawmill and stacked in a dedicated air-drying shed for several years before they are ready for use.
“As you enjoy this exhibit of my work, please also think of the beauty of the woods and individual trees that surround us and their role in these creations,” Hobbs added.
The Tioga Arts Council is located at 179 Front St. in Owego. You can visit them online at www.tiogaartscouncil.org to learn more.