Justin Cottrill

Post Mills, Vermont

I’m not really an artist.

At least not in the way I’ve always thought about what it meant to be one. I grew up in a family of mechanics and businessmen and medical\legal professionals. Sound, logical folks whose notion of art was that it was rather stuffy, and often too expensive. Or that it belonged only on walls. In that environment I developed a sense that it was function, much more than form, which really gave something its value. As I moved through my early adult years, however, it began to dawn on me that there might be something more going on. Something elusive and something towards which I might aspire. I found myself asking the common question “what makes this art?” While the answer to that question continues to unfold in my life every day, I found the beginnings of it in nature; that ultimate artist who all others attempt to mimic. The seemingly endless variation of form in the natural world shatters my notion of function and leaves me with this idea instead: art is the process by which something becomes. From brush stroke on paper to masterful surgical technique, from soufflé to a well-tuned motor, anything can be artful.

I take trees and turn them into things which I think are beautiful and which might have some use in a person’s life. If there’s sentimental value at the end that’s a bonus but the journey’s the thing.