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Berkley Art Bash Preview: Meet the Wood Worker Who Adds Character to Homes

Scott Bruce of Metamora knew he had a special talent four years ago when all his friends wanted to know where he bought the frames he hand-made for his wife.

Scott Bruce of Metamora has many ways to enhance the wood he builds home pieces with.

To transform it into a completely unique piece, he chisels, chops, paints and more— but besides his technical skill, he says it’s the passion and thought he puts into his creations that really resonates with customers.

“My work continues to evolve as I always try to create slightly out of my comfort zone and push my limits,” he said.

This year Bruce, 40, will be returning for a third time to the and he’s looking forward to the “eclectic mix of artists” and “really fun atmosphere.”

His pieces start at $35 and run up to $500. (Visit scottallenbruce.com for more of his designs).

We asked him to share a little on how he makes his very-detailed home art.

Patch: Tell us a little about the creations you offer.

Bruce: I create one-of-a-kind vintage-inspired creations out of wood. Each piece is hand-carved and hand-painted. I create wine racks, frames, wall decor and furniture. 

Q: How did your journey as an artist begin?   

A: I have always been artistic and creative. I won my first art competition in kindergarten, and continued to excel in art throughout my school years. In grade school I was selling drawings of comic book characters to other students for a dime each. (Hey, that was big money back then!)

Years later I was painting commissioned portraits in addition to my full time job in the printing industry. Pastels were my medium of choice for this type of work. Over time I grew very bored with portrait work. I felt very constrained and slowly transitioned to abstract paintings. Free form abstract work is a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.

It wasn’t long before I was selling my abstract work. It was during this period that I developed a lot of the techniques that I use today. After a few years of creating this type of art I felt the need to grow again. My wife Beth wanted some cool rustic picture frames for our home but couldn’t find what she wanted….so I decided to build them and paint them from scratch.

Even though at that time I really knew nothing about working with wood, the frames turned out great and our friends wanted to know where we bought them! That is when I fell in love with wood working. It was a way for my art to continue to evolve into more than just wall décor. That was about four years ago, and since that time I have created hundreds of different pieces that have all lead up to my current product lines.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: I love the look of vintage distressed wood and Old World architecture. I take new wood or unwanted construction material and artistically enhance it.

Q: Walk us through the process of making one of your pieces. 

A: Each piece begins with an inspiration. An idea turns into a series of sketches until the desired look is created. The materials needed for the piece are acquired. Approximately 85% of the material used is repurposed construction lumber, such as fence wood, deck wood, or any unwanted building materials. Usually I can find lots of material on Craigslist from home owners or businesses. Sometimes the material is acquired first, then based on what I have to work with new designs are created. The piece is built to the desired size and dimensions.  

Next is what I call character enhancement. The piece is distressed using a variety of methods. I like to really get into the wood and add lots of grooves and chisel out areas until the wood is transformed. Finally the piece is painted using a variety of techniques developed over the years.

Q: What does being an artist mean to you?

A: I love what I do! My products are not only functional works of art, but also filled with passion. That passion is the most important part of the process because it often registers deeply with my customers.

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