Wood Sculptor Refines Nature’s Art


By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

Photo by M “Charlie” Ferrazzi Sculptor Troy Poeschl’s work space looks more like a machine shop than an art studio.
Photo by M “Charlie” Ferrazzi
Sculptor Troy Poeschl’s work space looks more like a machine shop than an art studio.

Walking into Troy Poeschl’s shop, you don’t know where to look first. It is not because of all the art that is there, but because of the combination of tools, machines and material that can be found all around. Stacks of raw wood, metal, and more; from all this Poeschl produces his incredible and unique works.

Initially, Poeschl is quiet and not given to leisurely conversation or small talk. During the explaining of his process of creating this new sculpture piece, you find a person with a deep love and appreciation of nature, what it produces and what can be done with the raw materials to expose the beauty hidden in it.

An artist who is inspired by the materials he works with, Poeschl studies the raw materials to see how it developed during growth, stresses and outside influences during its lifetime. The grain of the wood, the texture inside and out, all tell a story and give the material an individuality. These elements are what guide Poeschl in his creation process.

“Embrace,” his current piece commissioned by CAP, consists of seemingly simple yet complicated forms of metal and wood. The piece has movement from all angles and takes into consideration the effect of weathering that will occur during its time on display. The Community Arts Project dedicates the work at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 19 at the Wells Fargo Bank, 260 Ocean Ave. A reception follows at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave.

Poeschl’s knowledge and extensive experience with metal is apparent when he is explaining the work it took to curve, cut and shape the steel into flowing lines for the frame, getting just the right bend and twist. Deciding how to weld the pieces for strength yet not take from the grace, beauty and movement that is a key element of the piece. Figuring out how to attach the sections of wood to the frame, designing and fabricating brackets for just the right angles, keeping the flowing movement running throughout the piece, what type of metal to use and how it would weather was also part of the design process.

The wood is buckeye, a wood that Poeschl enjoys working in for its unusual beauty inside and out. He showed me the original source; a five-foot wide, three-inch thick slab with an irregular outside edge and riddled with hollow pockets. He explained how it took about two months of study to find just the right area with enough solid wood that could be then cut into proper sized pieces for the sculpture and show off the beauty of the wood. His hand finishing of each cut piece brings out the subtle beauty of nature and her art.

Originally the piece was to be nine-foot tall, but in the creating process it has lost a few inches, as it became a matter of what was going keep the movement and balance rather than maintaining the size. This particular sculpture has been a challenge for Poeschl in that he had to create drawings and a maquette prior to creating the actual piece. This is the standard practice when doing public art projects. It is not the standard practice for Poeschl. Normally it is the materials that inspire and guide him in his creation and development of a piece.

Poeschl has been creating art, in one form or another, for the majority of his life. Growing up in Orange County, he did woodworking, making decorative functional pieces that he sold. At Cal State Long Beach, he graduated with a degree in fine arts and a minor in industrial arts; an unusual combination that has served him well. He has been a designer and fabricator of coffee roasters for Dietrich’s Coffee and motor racing components, specializing in racing scooters. He has been mechanically oriented as far back as he can remember. His expertise has been called for to work on Vespas to computers to mechanical fine art works.

Poeschl has been an exhibitor at the Festival of Arts for 12 years and the Sawdust Festival for 10 years. He has received awards and recognition for his unique work and exhibited in a variety of venues.

Living in Laguna Beach, Poeschl finds himself immersed in art, which in turn allows him to keep challenging himself. This in turn keeps his mind and eye constantly looking to see what materials catch him and dare him to create.


The author formerly owned the Esther Wells Collection gallery in town and is a member of CAP.

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