Texas-based woodworker Richard Wincorn began his career over 40 years ago and has been making breathtaking pieces for clients around the country. His work combines a modern organic style with some incredibly intricate geometric carving. As someone that is fascinated with woodworking (and terrified of a skill saw) getting to see his studio in Dallas this past December was pretty exciting. I was able to have a follow up interview to find out a little bit more about his process:
D: When/where did you begin your career as a woodworker? Were you always interested in pursuing being an artist/craftsman?
RW: I began my woodworking career in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1972 as an apprentice to a Hungarian master craftsman furniture craftsman named John Zoltai. My interest in furniture and design caught me pretty much unawares after my sophomore year in college. If Stanford University had an architecture school, maybe I would have become an architect, but they had closed that department the year before rather than expanding it. Years later, I was introduced to Mr. Zoltai by a neighbor after his apprentice had quit to open his own shop. It was an opportunity I could not pass up.
D: What were some lessons about your medium that you learn early on?
RW: Thus far, what I have learned some practical things of importance:
A. Respect for the material, wood, metal, ceramic, glass, etc.
C. How to avoid serious injury
D. Do proper research of styles, period, and past great craftsmen
E. Don’t be afraid of challenges
F. Never neglect structure
G. Know the limitations of materials, machinery, and yourself
H. Get a 50% deposit and a signed contract before ordering materials or beginning any work.
D: Can you give a summery of your process from conception to finished product?
RW: Every project begins with listening, trying to understand the needs, desires, and tastes of the client/architect/contractor. Then make drawings with constraints, scope of the project in mind. Select appropriate materials. Make any necessary revisions. Get busy.
D: What is your favorite part of the process?
RW: The best projects for me are the ones when I can deal with the client face to face and when they take an interest in the process. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in Dallas. Still, I get great satisfaction in small things like color, texture, grain patterns, colors, and the smell of fresh sawn wood. Have to find beauty in small, seemingly ordinary things.
D: What do you look to or where do you draw inspiration from?
RW: Inspiration comes from the study of traditional and contemporary work fron the gothic and Greek to American Indian to Chippendale and Hepplewhite to Shaker to the Arts and Crafts Movement to Nakashima and Malouf. It’s not difficult.
D: How long do you have to ruminate about a piece before you know how to execute it?
RW: Usually it takes more time working with clients and getting a deposit on work than actually producing it. Projects take from a few days to six weeks.
See more of his work at his website