A lifelong love affair

It is often coincidences that give life a decisive turn. Ernst Gamperl actually wanted to become a carpenter and then came to woodturning rather by chance. But this marked the beginning of a lifelong love affair between him and wood. He began as an autodidact and thus created the freedom from the very beginning that was needed to deal with a subject in an unprejudiced way and to let something new emerge.

Gamperl’s sculptures are not simply turned. They are the result of a long, intensive confrontation with the material wood and a constant dialogue. What does the wood want, where does it deform, where are there cracks and irregularities – all this flows into the design process of his wooden vessels, whose natural expressiveness he subsequently enhances. For example, by waxing and polishing, brushing out the veins or cutting the finest grooves, or contrasting the different surfaces against each other.

Gamperl does not resort to the axe, however. Instead, he uses logs that have not withstood the wind or had to give way for some other reason. His sculptures are exhibited worldwide. But if you like, you can also visit him in his studio in Steingaden. Be sure to make an appointment in advance.

Fotos: Bernhard Spöttel