Ed Gillenwater worked for General Telephone and Electronics Corporation for 30 years making corporate film packages. But when he and his wife decided to move to Bigfork, Mont., his painting and woodworking hobbies took off well beyond his expectations.
According to BigforkEagle.com, his salvaged wood furniture holds natural lines with handmade teal green tiles that are inlaid into the wood. His paintings include landscapes that are so detailed, they are photographic.A local gallery, The Frame of Reference Gallery, began to show Gillenwater’s work last October, and will host Gillenwater’s first big show this August.
“I’m tickled with it,” Gillenwater told BigforkEagle.com. “It’s exciting, but also stressful because a lot of the stuff that was going into the show is gone.”
Gillenwater has sold what feels like “a lot” to him. Half of what was sold was furniture and half consisted of paintings.
In his days in corporate film packages, he helped package the merger between GTE and Bell Atlantic that became Verizon Communications in 2000. In 2001 he retired from Verizon and went into business for himself making corporate and marketing film packages for companies like The Ritz Carlton and organizations like the Boy Scouts of America.But after five or six years living with his wife in Bigfork, Gillenwater says he spends less with clients and more working on his art full-time.
Fifteen years ago he got into furniture making with a friend from Texas. They worked with a lot of salvaged wood from the forests around the north Texas area.
Every two years he produced one painting and found time to get his artwork into a couple of small shows. But he said he never really put a ton of time and energy into it.
“I loved it and I loved to look at it, but I never really had the time to focus on it,” Gillenwater said.
His inspiration comes from the work of George Nakashima, one of the founders of the American Craft movement in the 1930s and 1940s.
“It’s very organic, he sort of just lets the wood do its thing,” Gillenwater said.
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Q: We are using southern yellow pine for furniture and
have been getting what looks like lengthwise shrinkage. However,
I was always taught that wood does not shrink along the grain.
Can you help please?
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