This issues Artist spotlight falls on Greg Little of Prarieville Louisianna. He got started in woodworking at the age of nine, helping his dad and grandpa build swamp boats in the garage. Maybe it’s this start in woodworking that gave him a fondness for compound curves and a slight aversion to right angles. Instead of imposing straight lines on his work, he prefers to let them flow. This philosophy gives his work a distinctly organic appearance, reminiscent of ripples on water or sand dunes.
This natural look that he so easily seems to achieve is done freehand, mostly with an angle grinder and a fordam. Since there isn’t a good tool on the market for compound curves, all his pieces are hand sanded as well. Greg says that if there is part of your work that you don’t enjoy, it will show in your finished product. That’s why he takes a laid back approach to the sanding. He considers it his relaxing time, and this shows in his work.
When viewing his work it is easy to see what force of nature inspired each one; wind, water or the slow erosion of time. It is this thoughtfulness that makes him an artist in the truest sense of the word. Every one of his pieces is distinct and unique.
It’s interesting that Greg is so inspired by nature, as it has made some definite impacts in his life. In 2005 hurricane Katrina put his home and his shop under six feet of water. The water eventually receeded, but his lifes collection of tools was submerged long enough to be destroyed.
Not one to be kept down, Greg has since moved to higher ground and built himself a much nicer workspace.
The storm is not forgotten however, he still builds boxes from oaks that were blown down in Katrina. I’t’s easy to hear in his voice that he enjoys creating from something that was so tragic and on a personal level.
Greg also likes to work with another local material called “ sinker cyprus”. This comes from the bottom of the river where it landed after falling off a logging barge as far back as the early 1800s. Cured underwater for a couple hundred years, this material is now highly sought after. Greg feels that it adds something to his works when there is history behind the material. He also uses imported exotic woods too, but he notes that they are becoming harder to locate and more costly than they were just a few years ago.
Although he has shipped as far away as Canada, he mostly serves the United States and says the bulk of his sales come from the local shows he does. Officially retired, he limits these to about ten a year and uses the time to get away with his wife.
He attributes his local success to how hands on his products are. When customers can actually pick up one of his boxes and follow the curves and grain around its’ form, that’s when they can truly appreciate the work he does.
Greg didn’t seem to interested in talking about sales or money though. He makes boxes because he enjoys doing it, and I think that shines through in his work.
Gregs’ work strives to emulate what nature and time can do, I find him successful and nearly as patient. Hats off to you Greg Little, keep doing what you’re doing.