Drawing from a background of carpentry and a love for the great outdoors, Eric Heinemann has been carving works from wood since his youth, a skill that now serves him as a craft. Heinemann first moved to the Central Oregon area nine years ago, and continues to find inspiration for his woodworking from time spent mountain biking, rock climbing and telemark skiing.
He claims, “I’m a typical Bendite [in] that way, I suppose.”
Heinemann designed and crafted his first commissioned piece a few years ago. The four-by-eight foot plywood carving, which depicts Scenes of the Cascades, was made for a close friend and his wife and now sits, suspended by steel cables, between two trees. When constructing this work, Heinemann utilized a jig saw, a single plane of plywood and some finish. Heinemann aimed to “make it more striking with negative space,” and added trees in front of the mountain range in order to complete this task.
After undertaking a new site-specific work, Heinemann spends time surrounded by the environment and scenery he will be carving. Eventually, he draws out the desired scape and employs carpentry tools to carve into his material. On average, this whole process requires three to four days to reach a finalized product. Heinemann prefers working with Marine grade plywood, as he appreciates the durability of the medium.
On choosing woodworking as his primary craft, Heinemann says, “I like thinking in three dimensions.” The artist finds his muse in nature, and hopes to “help people’s vision and to inspire them” by reminding individuals of the beauty of the Central Oregon outdoors.
In recent years, Heinemann has completed several unique, carved works. Notably, a 40 foot fence with an intricate mountainscape spanning the entirety of the length. Other works include a cat condo, (with a wooden staircase), a music cabinet consisting of raw wood and finish, a woodcut of hops, buds and leaves in honor of beer of the Northwest and a koi fish yin-yang design to be gifted to Master Chen of the Oregon Tai Chi Wushu studio.
An incorporation of metal into his work is something Heinemann aspires to accomplish in the near future. Additionally, he would like to carve pieces displaying Monkey Face of Smith Rock and Yosemite Valley. Because woodworking has always been a creative outlet for the contractor, Heinemann states, “I’m just getting into thinking of myself as someone that can sell art.”