Maryland sculptor turns nature’s flow into furniture

Using a self-taught technique, David Knopp carves plywood laminate into fantastically abstract shapes, imbuing the rigid nature of wood with the fluidity of water. Video produced by Patrick Ridgely, shot by Tim Pugh and edited by Bob Mixter, Maryland Public Television.

David Knopp knows that plywood, a veneer composite used for construction, is not the most exciting material, but it’s his supply of choice for creating his abstract sculptural pieces of furniture.

“I’m interested in the end grains of the plywood because when I carve it, the strata which acts as lines, you can express all kinds of movement,” Knopp said. “It actually becomes the lines that you’re eyes follow.”


“It actually becomes the lines that you’re eyes follow.”

The Baltimore-based artist designs his sculptures by first photographing bare trees in the middle of winter, when “you can actually see the contours and the surfaces.” He turns those photographs into drawings and then interprets his drawings with wood, trying to maintain the movement he sees throughout the process.

“When people first see my work, I’m not sure they look at it and see, ‘Oh, that’s a piece of furniture.’”

Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.