Born and raised in Calgary, Doug Zech is an artist and woodworker with a background in printmaking and sculpture. He holds a Diploma of Fine Art (with distinction) from the Alberta College of Art (now AUArts) and a Master of Fine Art degree from NSCAD (now NSCAD University).
A self-taught woodworker and furniture maker he has exhibited his woodwork locally, nationally and internationally for over twenty-five years. During that time, he was honoured to be chosen for an exhibition of chairs curated by world renowned chair-maker, Sam Maloof in Worchester, Mass.
He has been an instructor in printmaking at AUArts teaching both full time day classes and for many years taught with their continuing education program as well. One of his most rewarding teaching experiences was a Selkirk College in Nelson, BC where he taught the Fine Woodworking Program. This program focuses on traditional fine furniture making and design and culminates each year in an exhibition of the student's work.
My current bodies of work are turned wooden objects that are an exploration in contrast. They explore my fascination with contrasting elements. Whether that be light and dark, organic and mechanical or smooth and rough. The pieces I am working on embrace the concept of smooth and rough, finished and unfinished, refined and course, practical or impractical. Contrasting these with highly finished and refined wood surfaces I am creating a visual dichotomy that is both sensual and abrasive.
The other body of work is comprised of simple utilitarian items found in most kitchens, stirring implements, spatulas, rolling pins, etc. These are raised to a higher level using beautifully figured wood, thoughtful design and detailing that embraces the concept of contrast expressed in my larger turned work.
As an artist that turns what was once a living organism into objects that are beautiful to use and admire, I believe it is incumbent upon me to do this in a responsible way.
The majority of my work is made from wood that is destined for the land fill, scrap pile or fire pit. I have partnered with my current employer as well as select businesses to raid their scrap bins and use that wood to create my work. I also work with an arborist to use the wood that is produced from the pruning and removal of trees from our urban forest.
Absolutely everything I make is created as a unique object. I do not use mass production methods or duplicating devices. Using a wood lathe as the main tool I shape each piece by eye, this leads to a slight variation in each piece creating a uniqueness. Much like the wood that I use, no two pieces are identical, similar, yes, but each has its own personality.