The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 28, 2013

WITH VIDEO: More than a sliver of talent

Brad Stevenson’s wood-working artwork to be on display at arts center


Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Arts Center will be hosting the woodworking talent of Ashtabula artist Brad Stevenson.

Stevenson is bringing his exhibition entitled “Butts and Burls (the gnarly side of wood)” to the Arts Center’s gallery Wednesday through April 4. In addition, there will be an art opening reception on March 8 from6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Stevenson’s woodworking style is considered “transitional”: it is neither traditional nor contemporary. He incorporates more than 50 local types of naturally colored wood in his designs, including “live” edged wood. The mirrors, shelves and wine trees produced by Stevenson offer a unique twist on traditional home décor. His sunburst pieces are based on a very old star quilt design. In a world of man-made materials, Stevenson brings the organic warmth of natural wood back onto our lives.

Stevenson is a lifelong resident of Ashtabula. After graduation from Ashtabula High School in 1971, he earned his bachelor of arts degree from Bowling Green State University in 1975, majoring in music education. Though music was his major, woodworking is his passion. From a very early age — starting in junior high school — Stevenson has been fascinated by the woodworking craft. After several years of performing in musical groups, he began a career in the design and construction of furniture.

He was a partner in The Village Art Works in Madison from 1983 until 1987. Since that time, he has traveled the eastern United States, from Vermont to the Carolinas, selling his work at art shows across the region. He has worked with students in the After School Discovery program since 2005, where he is known as “The Wood Guy.” Even with his busy schedule, Brad still finds time to play saxophone across northeast Ohio.

Having grown up with an interest in preserving our natural world, Stevenson is careful to only use woods that are cut from sustainable hardwood forests. In fact, since the age of 6, he has planted trees almost every year of his life. Additionally, much of the wood in his artworks comes from stumps and salvaged logs that would otherwise have been wasted. More of Stevenson’s artistic designs can be viewed at www.sevenhillswoodworking.com.

As a special added attraction, the musical team of Rossi and Romano will be playing in the arts center’s gallery on the night of the Stevenson art opening reception. Erin Rossi and Sam Romano are a powerful, fun, and talented duo. They have known and worked with each other in various projects over 12 years and pride themselves in playing pure music, no backing tracks or preprogrammed songs. It's a simple formula or recipe for success: Sam's acoustic guitar plus Erin and Sam's diverse, unique, and heart felt vocals plus a dash of percussion and maybe some scatting in place of a missing instrument, depending on that particular song, this all equals the Rossi & Romano sound!

Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., Fridays 9 to 4 and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free. The gallery is also open before theater performances and during intermission.