There are few works that can be recognized by whose hand they were formed. Norm Friar makes art with such a marvel of design and beauty that you can distinguish his work at a glance. This is because there are no records anywhere of the designs we are seeing from his workshop. Secondly it's clear that the time it takes to produce this kind of perfect, imaginative, and amazingly detailed workmanship is nearly incomprehensible. As a former engineer and computer programmer, Norm would seem to be working outside of his element. With a quick review it’s clear that art has been his calling all along. Most works are planned in more detail than first meets the eye. There’s a process to selecting each log, aligning the directions of the grain in every board, and creative solutions for the shape, size, thickness, species, glue and finish to have the greatest impact on strength, longevity, and beauty with little regard to the complexity or the time it will take to make the strongest and most lasting impact to the collection. There’s frequent use of the dovetail spline key, which is the strongest and most difficult dovetail style joint to accomplish. There’s no trim, plugs, veneers, or overlaps that are commonly used to hide construction details and discrepancies. There are no screws, nails, brads, staples, modern or artificial fastening. The works are designed to be held together without the need for glue through the use of interlocking joints, which when glued become extremely strong assemblies. The most obvious results of his work are the one of a kind original designs.
A quick tour of his studio reveals other projects such as masonry. stone, acid stained concrete, wood showers, decking, bathroom additions and house extensions, acrylic paintings on canvas, wood experiments, and on and on a seriously creative, busy, and successful mind.
Although it may seem a long way from his former engineering role his complex designs, creative solutions, and new ways of looking at old practices are clearly designed through a focused professional effort. Such a fresh perspective of this hereto unseen craftsmanship give his studio the ability to succeed far from the Ozarks. At a glance one can see that Norm’s vision to make a difference in the world will keep making the difference timeless for generations to come.
Karl Simms - The Upstate Curator
1609 Windsor Dr