The first member maker featured at Tilda’s Nature of Exchange Fridays is Ellis Bradley of Sage Studios. Ahead of the event, we reached out to Bradley to learn more about his work and the inspiration behind it.
- Please describe the work you do at Sage Studios.
Sage Studios creates furniture, sculpture, wall reliefs, and objects of great diversity for homes and businesses. The work can be at once very practical, harmonious, and available. There is a deeper and studied spiritual quality and investment present and imbued within each creation.
- What is your background and how did you begin practicing your craft?
My background is very textured with old family training and old world techniques and values that follow. From another perspective I honor the visionary gifts of creativity that came to me from a very young age. With a deep and profound connection to the earth and cosmos, I have embraced a journey to understand our origins and the origins of visionary creativity. These teachings come from the indigenous way of “seeing” our origins and path here on earth and cultivating a deep relationship with “the elements;” earth, air, fire, water, and aether. My background remains in humble acknowledgement of my Kogui, Hopi, Haudenosaunee, Shinto, and Daoist friends and mentors who accompany me as I evolve.
- What are the materials you use and why? What is special about these materials to you?
I have been shown to identify the materials I use as “the elements.” Those that surround us and sustain us. The gifts of wood, stone, metal, and many others. They are imbued with their own energy and gifts. I have worked with materials as old as 30,000 years (fossilized mastodon ivory). As new as a reclaimed tree saved from “the dinosaur” (i.e. wood chipper—a worthy opponent), extinct chestnut from a tobacco barn. The studio has a palette of heritage woods chestnuts, white oaks, white and yellow pines—much that arrived from my family legacy passed to me. Other materials found in the studio will be vintage iron shapes and forms, stones from near and far journeys, all waiting to tell their stories, waiting for someone to listen.
- Can you share any exciting projects you have coming up?
Currently I am finishing two commissioned library tables that I designed. The first will serve as a foundation for illustrators and artists in residence. This piece, and accompanying benches are of live edge white oak honoring George Nakashima’s contribution to the Shinto wood tradition. The other library table is a deeply spirited live edge, extremely rare mulberry burl slab with a custom steel base. This tree was harvested and saved by my friends and I, then milled and kiln dried after its near 200 year life, having arrived on a merchant ship from England as one of three on the journey. I also have been working on the restoration of a white oak and chestnut library bookcase retrieved from a yard for free. I will exchange for my labor and pass on the benefit to my friends so they can afford to have a fine piece otherwise unavailable to them.
- How did you get involved with Hudson Valley Current?
My involvement with the Current and Chris Hewitt was serendipitous through an introduction from a friend in the Catskills feeling we would have a kinship. Well, when I see water I am known to leap. To me, the Current is a vision ahead of its time and a template from another time in our common origins and a balanced way to live with earth. From speaking with Chris, I understood he was following a vision for unity and inclusion, and challenging a very out of balance paradigm of trade and commerce based in indefinite expansion called progress and development, governed by a force— an energy called money. When water descends a mountain it begins its journey as small tributaries streams, creeks, runoffs, soon to merge into rivers and then to the great waters of the ocean. I see the vision of the Current helping to see through the illusion/dilemma that we are experiencing and I am here to accompany that vision as another tributary and ally of water.
- Why do you use Currents in your business?
In zen, “water flows around rocks.” I also had this crazy dream with Chris holding a “bundle” of resources/energy and he asked me to jump from the knoll I was standing on into the current of a fast flowing river, which I of course immediately did without hesitation. And so without hesitation, I am open to participating in the growth of the Current.
- Do you have a website where people can learn more about you and your creations?
I have never had a great need for a website or social media, yet I am aware that we can make good use of these as tools and I am in the process of doing that. I am consulting with my 11-year-old IT guy as we speak. You can reach me through the Current, email and there is a small collection of pieces currently at Tilda’s Kitchen.You can contact Bradley by email, firstname.lastname@example.org and attend the Tilda’s Nature of Exchange event on Friday April 2.