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Starry Eyes

Wood Sculpture

Created by Keoni Carlson
"Starry Eyes" was inspired by the artist's wife—his muse and best friend.

Carlson's primary medium is wood, re-imagined as beaded and woven basketry and sculpture, both tabletop and wall. He creates unexpected, touchable illusions that delight the eye and hand.

Designs are inspired by Tribal and Native Culture storytelling, legend and iconography. Sugar maple is lathe-turned into a shape visioned by the artist as the artwork's canvas. Then, working entirely freehand/by hand, the design is wood-burned using a 1/8" straight-line tool. The touchable illusion artwork can often require 10,000 individual burns, or more. India inks and organic dyes are used for color, all applied by hand. The award-winning artist as been a featured artist at the CM Russell Museum, SOFA Chicago and the Western Design Conference. In 2020, the artist's work can be seen at the Architectural Digest Design show and at the Smithsonian Fine Craft+Design show, among others. He was elected in 2018 to the By Western Hands artisans' guild and has had work featured in Cowboys & Indians magazine.

The illusion carving technique has its roots in Asian artistic culture and was brought to the US in the early 1950s. Mastery of the artistic style requires practiced skills in woodworking, design, coloring and execution, a combination rarely seen at the fine art level. In addition to wood carving, the artist also incorporates a variety of natural materials such as thorn, seed pods, dried vines and collected objects such as bone, claw and porcupine quill as he explores design motifs of both contemporary and traditional western heritage.

It's art, not functional; direct sunlight will fade colors. Each piece has been sealed with multiple coats of lacquer for durability. The medium is wood and as such, water, direct sunlight, etc. can damage the artwork. Do not microwave or put in dishwashers. Should damage occur, contact the artist as repair can often be made.

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