Meher Baba Bas-Relief Wood Carving 1974 - 1976

In May of 2008, I woman came to my Open Studio and asked me if I could build stools in walnut with carved seats, in the manner of Sam Maloof, the master chair maker of our time. She had a walnut counter top. I didn't know how to do it, but I wanted to know. I said yes. She flashed me a significant look and left, leaving an address that returned my card, no telephone number, and no email address. I put it out of my mind, when, with a three week deadline, came the call, "Would you build them by such and such date in time for my house warming party?" Yes, of course. I talked to eight woodworkers, studied a video of Sam and his apprentices working on his $20,000 rocking chairs. After two days, I had a variety of tools and a plan combining different ideas, techniques, and my own intuition. Another two days, and I had the seat carved out. The stools were ready in time, but without a finish. I took them back and sanded and sanded and oiled until they gleamed.

Meher Bas Relief

This bas-relief carving of Meher Baba was commissioned by Padri Driver, one of the original disciples of Meher Baba, dating back to the early '20's of the 20th century. It was to be one of six panels as a sample what could be done to the doors of Meher Baba's tomb, for people to meditate on before and after they entered it and paid their respects and homage to the Master within. This particular panel focused on Meher Baba in 1923. He had a wild look about him and an intense gaze, which I hoped to capture. All three figures are of the same man, captured from three different photographs. If you look carefully, you'll see him in the rocks and smiling on a tree - which actually did grow that way after he passed away and which I saw personally in 1974. (NFS)

The piece was carved on two pieces of pecan over a two year period, 1974 - 1976. The size is 15" x 15".