Meet the Hobson Oak Artists
We are thrilled to announce that the latest phase in procurement of gifts from The Hobson Oak is now in full swing! August marks the first opportunity to obtain unique decorative objects crafted from the tree. Naperville Parks Foundation has partnered with Loaves and Fishes Community Services to auction items at their Night to End Hunger, held Saturday August 25, 2018.
Below, we would like to highlight two generous artisans that have gifted their special talent, skill, and hundreds of hours of labor to design and fabricate pieces that will bring a sense of kinship and style to the homes of the lucky recipients.
Long time Naperville resident and retired businessman Bruce Kamp has connections to a number of local organizations through his support, family, and friends. It was well-timed that he got word of the Hobson Oak Project and offered to lend his woodsman skills to create beautiful decorative pieces for auction.
His story is one that has a direct correlation to our tree. It’s traditional, nostalgic, and timeless. Bruce’s foundation in craftsmanship came as the apprentice to his dad who woodworked as a hobby. He learned skills at his father’s side and to this day utilizes some of his original tools and equipment, including a ShopMaster aluminum bed lathe. Today he mostly uses a contemporary lathe. Over the years he has fashioned keepsakes and heirlooms for his kids and grandchildren. He also constructed beautiful furnishings for his home.
Of keen interest is working with various woods and techniques. A desire to never tire of creating, he actively works with various woods and adds nuance to design and has created a multitude of decorative and functional pieces. He says, “Much of the pleasure then derived from the idea of taking a rough piece of wood and turning it into something nice and maybe something useful, too.”
Bruce has also worked to pass on the tradition of woodcrafting in his family by working with his grandkids on projects. He is an active participant in trades groups and remains excited for all that remains to be discovered in crafting.
Tommaso Lesnick comes to the Hobson Oak Project though the commission of Loaves and Fishes board member Ned Bacon. He has a successful career in advertising and extends his design focus to tommasomade – Objects for the Home, his privately-owned handcrafted business. He enthusiastically took on the challenge to create three exclusive pieces for auction which expresses his point of view.
The connection to art and craftsmanship was honed at an early age. Tommaso’s father was a history professor and his family spent a substantial amount of his formative years living in Florence, Italy. Inspired by the tradesmen culture and exposure to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces led to a refinement of his natural talent. This was enhanced with art as a focus through formal education, to include a Masters in Fine Art from San Francisco Art Institute.
He explains that his job is “to show what’s already there.” One notices his affinity to express wood through Live Edge construction. His artistic objective is “to find the piece within that Is the wonderful expression of the wood.”
Important when selecting wood, he considers three things. “1. Is the live edge engaging? 2. What is happening with the grain (of the wood)? 3. Consideration of the place(s) where change happens.” This skillful eye and attention to detail in design retains a connectedness to nature.
Tommaso offers a “commitment to using local raw materials, a passion to work them by hand, and desire for functional objects that are at once modern and classic and creates Objects for the Home that have an aesthetic all their own.”
Written by: Lisa Thomas