We are a husband and wife team who have, historically, each focused on our own work. Kelsey made studio furniture and offered a line of bamboo cutting boards, while Amy had been making fiber and clay dolls and recycled wool hats. In 2013 Amy made her way into the wood shop and began carving her figurative sculptures in wood.

Amy's presence in the wood shop has led us to a new sort of partnership. Drawing upon both of our experiences we are creating a common vision and a cast of human/animal figurative sculptures in wood. Each of our pieces is one of a kind and created by our hands alone.

The rough shaping of Basswood bodies and body parts is done with a band saw, chainsaw, grinders, large chisels, and spoke shaves. While the finer work of carving faces, hands, feet, and texturing surfaces is done with smaller chisels, gouges, and knives. The pieces are finished with layers of milk paint which are built up and sometimes sanded through.

We each have our own processes and working styles and fitting these together can prove tricky. We are, of course, challenged by this but as we pass a sculpture back and forth adding and taking away,encouraging and editing, we find ourselves engaging in a deeper kind of communication.

As our collaboration relies upon a balance between our sensibilities, personalities, and skills so too do our finished pieces walk a fine line. We are interested in exploring a balance between human and animal, wild and tame, crude and refined, movement and stability, humor and seriousness, adult and child, and toy and art object.


Artist Statement:

Every winter I go through a period of time where I get bogged down and overwhelmed about the state of the world. I feel conflict and confusion about the way I choose to live my life and the role I play in making humanity better or worse. I find myself working alone in the studio and have a deeper crisis about the choice I make to spend my time this way. Making sculpture begins to feel like a self-indulgent past time. I struggle over whether my time would be better spent doing community work, or organizing for a bigger impact.

I have found that when this happens I can get unstuck from that place if I begin to think of my sculpture as a prayer. In the case of Hand Bloom, it is a prayer for new ideas, the opening of my mind to new ways of thinking, and for inspiration. Hand Bloom and Blossom are prayers for meaningful work, beauty, purpose, and for love to come from my hands. The creation of these sculptures is a prayer or meditation for moving forward, closer to where I want to be personally. A person living with these finished sculptures could also use them as a visual reminder or prayer for what their heart is longing for, and that feels meaningful.

Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber Olds, Hand Bloom, 2017, Basswood and milk paint, 38x26x6 inches, collection of the artist
Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber Olds, Head Bloom 2, 2019, Basswood and milk paint, 38.5x14x11 inches, collection of the artist
Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber Olds, Blossom, 2018, Basswood and milk paint, 45x34x4.5 inches, collection of the artist