I was born in 1959, in a woodsy place north of Seattle. My early visual impressions include drawings of buildings on my father’s desk, skeletal frames of buildings under construction, Native American Art on the walls, and trees against the sky.
I’m told that as a child I whittled everything within reach, soap, flour, butter on the table. In high-school I started carving wood in earnest. I did my degree at the University of Washington, where I studied sculpture, bronze casting, welding, and Northwest Coast Native art.
Enamored with the abstract form. Initially very inspired by architectural sketches on his father's table.
In 1984 I fell in love with carving river stone, while living in the Olympic Mountains. This prompted me, in 1989, to create a studio in the woods, on top of a little mountain on the Island of San Juan..
"If my pieces had a theme, it might be about the movement of energy from earth and stone into sky and stars. Our Earth is mostly stone, centering gravity in our feet. Our bodies reach skywards and our heads are in the stars.
Our arms reach out like branches seeking sunlight. As my pieces rise they open up to the light through glass and windows that invite setting suns. I love to walk in the last hours of daylight and watch light change in the infinite shifting patterns of tree branch cathedrals. I often come to a meadow of deep moss and lie down to watch the cloud paintings light with fire and then move into night. "
View Artwork by Tom Small in Person
Come see these pieces first hand. We are just a short walk from the ferry and an excellent destination for your visit to San Juan Island.