Jan Greenwald Gallery

We could call Jan Greenwald a Master

at his craft of wood turning and carving, but he would deny it. He is humble about his work, but has been known to spend weeks sanding a bowl until it is up to his standards. A small bowl might command up to $1,500 on the market, and yet when moved to do so he will gladly give it all away. 

Jan’s fascination with wood began in childhood as he walked across a bridge at Knotts Berry Farm, running his hand along the burnished railing which had been richly polished by the movement of a thousand of hands before him. From that day forward he spent many of his childhood hours digging through wood piles to examine the lines and grain in each piece. Now he scours gullies and canyons for unique formations. Since he is well known by the locals in Fallbrook for his talent at coaxing the beauty from a fallen limb, wood is often brought to him by his surrounding neighbors. 

Waves and Sand Series

Reflective of gentle waves and sandy shores. 

A master of the fine art of wood turning, in this series Jan deftly incorporates the soothing sense of water and sand into his pieces, capturing a feeling of movement in the waves and soft foam washing upon the shores. From the richly detailed elements of a piece of carved driftwood to the hand-tooled sea foam, each piece is exquisitely turned and carved from one piece of wood.

The Camphor wood bowl (shown here) was recently accepted and exhibited alongside the works of several internationally acclaimed wood-turners, at the 31st International Woodturning Symposium at the Kansas City Convention Center, held on June 22-25, 2017, hosted by The American Association of Woodturners (AAW)

Camphor wood bowl – wavy ledge, driftwood detail

Camphor wood bowl 

 

Carob wood bowl – Seafoam & Ripples, 21″ across

carob wood bowl sea foam effect Carob wood bowl wave and sea foam detail

Olive wood – Seafoam effect, 21″ across

Olive wood bowl -seafoam Olive wood bowl -seafoam-detail

Juniper wood bowl wave ledge, root detail, 24″ across

Juniper wood bowl wavy ledge Juniper wood bowl-driftwood-detail

Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with droplet handles, 23″ across

Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with handle Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with handle

Character of the Wood

Identifying that particular branch of the wood that contains within it the most interesting grain and unique characteristics is a skill Jan has honed and nurtured over the years. Most craftsmen would discard the wood Jan uses, considering it too flawed, but as you see the “flaws” add unique beauty and interest to the piece. The outcome is not always predictable because he follows the lead of the wood, allowing rather than forcing the design.

Olive wood Mortar, Pestle & Spoon

Mortar and Pestle with spoon

Apricot wood double bowl

Apricot wood double bowl

Olive wood bowl

Olive wood bowl

Olive wood bowl with ledge

Olive wood bowl

Desert Reflections

In 2015 Jan was urged to enter a few pieces in the San Diego County Fair. It was no surprise to those of us who know his work that he was awarded second place for the Agave flower (turned and carved from one piece of wood) pictured below. He continues to exhibit at the Fair and to date he has been awarded five cash prizes in the  

 

Cactus Remains

Cactus Vase

  

Agave flower

Agave flower- turned and carved from one piece of Ash wood.

Succulent dish with lid

Succulent Bowl with lid

Marachas

Marachas

Diversity

 

Pepper wood Sewing kit

Sewing kit

 

  

Carob wood dish

Carob wood dish

Olive wood bowl with bird carving

Olive wood bowl with bird carving

Cocobolo & Ash wood bowl

two tone bowl

Urns

[In Jan’s voice] It is only on rare occasion that I accept a commission or plan a project. I like to allow the form to emerge as it will, rather than force the wood into my idea of correctness. Urns are the exception. I consider it a privilege to be asked to share in a grieving family’s experience. I try to talk with them, getting a sense of their needs while sharing my thoughts on wood. Frequently, we talk about the deceased so that I can hold him in my thoughts as I work. Then, putting aside what shape to make, I watch as the form emerges from the wood.

Avocado Urn with Ash accent
I was commissioned to create an urn for the future ashes of a dear friend and her beloved dog. The urn is a double container with a chamber for each with two separate openings. The smaller, upper chamber is reached through a removable top. Below, a larger area was carved out with access through a bottom plate. 

Avocado wood Urn
Once “loaded” urns are rarely opened, the lid more ornament than functional. Because of this, I make many urns with a bottom opening and fixed top. The top and body do not separate; entry is through a bottom plate held securely in place with brass screws.
 

Avocado wood Urn with Ash band
I cut the wood for this urn from an orchard up on Wilt Road here in Fallbrook. You can see the green stone I embedded in the top as an accent.