Dan Breslow transforms wood into art

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Few can resist the allure of a craft show; everyone is intrigued by creative people and the process of finding unique, handmade items. Recently, Dan Breslow appeared at Ware’s Christmas in July craft show in Oxford, wowing people with his contribution in the art of wood turning.

“I was the unicorn at the Ware show,” he said. “My price point may have been higher than others, but I sold very well.” He was such a unicorn that people would stop and talk to him and his wife as they passed his table, and many onlookers quickly realized that what they were gazing at with curiosity were art, not crafts.

The difference between craft and art is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, and it’s nearly impossible to make that judgment on any given day. But the number of people stopping by Breslau’s table steadily grew. And everyone had questions: How did you make it? What can you put something in it? What kind of wood is it made of?

Breslow and his wife love questions, and they tried hard to answer lots of them. Breslow is a retired mechanical engineer. How did he go from there to creating such intriguing art? “I retired six years ago,” he says. “I did a lot of air conditioning and pressure equipment. Then I became a project manager. I got away from the technical side of engineering and got involved in the political side of it, and negotiation is one of the challenges.”

Eventually, the job added pressure and stress, but he found he liked working under pressure. He also liked the idea of ​​having a bird’s-eye view of his projects. Soon after leaving his job, he dove into the world of wood turning. He began creating a workshop that was efficient, comfortable, and had an atmosphere that inspired creativity. “I like that I can just step out the door and enter this world that I’ve created,” he explained.

Combining different types of wood to create one piece of art isn’t as easy as it sounds: Different types of wood expand differently, and fusing them together isn’t for the faint of heart.

“Gluing all the wood together takes a lot of time,” he explained. “You have to make sure it’s completely dry. It has to fit together perfectly. The glue has to set overnight. Then you put the finished piece on the lathe, turn it, shape it, sand it, and keep going until it’s just how you want it.”
Once he has the piece the way he wants it, he covers it in polyurethane and polishes it to a glass-like finish. His bowls, vases and containers are meant to hold nothing but dried flowers. But his pieces stand on their own and don’t need any additional decoration. There’s no need to fill the containers with anything; they’re truly works of art.

“The joy is finding the right kind of wood,” he said. “I use cherry, mahogany, walnut, oak, maple, dark walnut. I love the contrast between the woods.” It’s the contrast and precision that makes everyone who sees his work stop and stare and ask, “How did you do that?”

“I researched and realized that some colors and shades appeal more to me. I like the combination of dark walnut and cherry,” he explained. “What I love about wood is that it has a natural color. It has different textures. I love the smell and feel of wood. The shapes you can make are endless. You never know what the finished product will look like. I get to combine different types of wood. It’s like I’m on a journey and I don’t know where it will take me, but I know when I’ll arrive.”

Working with wood is one thing, but Breslow was genuinely surprised by how much wood has changed his life. “It took me a while to realize how satisfying creating could be,” he says. “The process of creating has been an amazing experience for me. It brings out all the nuances of the wood and guides you in the right direction. I only recently realized what creating means to me. The funny thing is, I started with the pieces of wood I had on hand. I put them together and loved the results. I’ve been to arts and crafts shows, but I’ve never seen my own work. I love seeing other people’s work. Wood is beautiful, and when you put different woods together and hand sand them, it’s amazing. I’m surprised more people don’t think about combining different woods.”

This artist likes to work by hand, his work is not done on a production line, Breslow loves to create different colors, shapes and sculptures.
“No two pieces are the same,” he explained, “I put everything I have into every piece, and every piece I’m working on now is the best piece I’ve ever made. I lose track of time. Another thing I’ve discovered is that I have more patience. It takes hours to make a piece, and of course I don’t get paid for my time. My prices range from $30 to $200. There aren’t many people who do what I do, so I don’t have a standard. I charge what I think people are willing to pay.”

It’s not about making money, it’s about doing something you have to do, and he’s so grateful to have found something that gives him purpose in retirement.

He said: “Every morning I feel joy when I see what I have created. Some people don’t understand my art but that doesn’t bother me. Everybody has their own vision and their own talent.”
“My wife, Roz, is my biggest advocate. Her support is incredible. She loves wood, as do I, but isn’t interested in woodworking. I started to improve and now she’s my biggest fan and the driving force behind me going to shows. She’s the marketing director.”
The beauty of his work is that it never gets boring. His pieces have many different aspects. Sometimes he leaves bark on the piece, leaving the piece rough, other times it looks like glass. They each vary in size. Depending on the light, color and angle, his pieces take on a thousand looks.
For more information about his work or where to see it exhibited, please contact him at [email protected] Or check out woodAsArtByDan’s Etsy store.

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