By Tara Bell
Quiet, with a respectful stature, Steve could be from our past, traveling the rails of time with his chisel and wood, chipping away with precise aim to shape a bowl. He also makes sink bowls for the home that will make a bathroom into a sanctuary. I first met Steve and his wife, Jan, when we shared a stop at Tom and Sandy D’onofrio’s home and studio outside Sherpherstown over 17 years ago. Steve once invited me to hold the hand adz (like a turned-on-its-side curved axe). With my rubber-doll arms and pencil holding hand I tried to chop a chip in the bowl he was working on. Needless to say, all I could do was make a dull thumping sound on the surface, Giggling, I handed back that ancient tool, hand-manufactured, and Steve sliced the wood like a bar of Ivory soap to make an indent identical to the others and chips fell around his feet. I have to say, I was impressed. There are very few craftspeople that hew bowls by hand these days, and no wonder, It takes time to develop the skills, strength, dedication, and heartfelt patience.
Jan tells me how Steve will oil the pieces, a process that takes time so the bowls will be finished, usable, and will last (forever?... I think so).
At our recent tour meeting (the first one in person for me in a multitude of months), we gathered outside at dusk on Anne and Danny Bower’s huge and comfy front porch, with the cats playing in the garden. A few deer raised their heads in the fields to listen to our laughter. Steve and Jan arrived. I think of a sturdy essence of a tree when I look at Steve, strong in presence, like the bowls he makes. We are happy to see each other, old stop mates. He is one of our oldest members, and he is still setting up at shows with his wares and towering shelves of bowls. I am grateful to see him and dear Jan for another tour.
Find Steve and Jan out in one of Ren and Pam Parziale's out-buildings, stop number #6 on our soon-to-happen November 13 and 14 Studio Tour. Please wear a mask when stepping inside the large shed, and enjoy the warmth of the wood, the authentic people presenting, and the step back in time. Learn more about Steve at http://www.charlesstevenadams.com.