Terry Martin
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Collaborations with Zina

Zina Burloiu works in Romania and has been a carver and sculptor for thirty years. Zina is the most honoured traditional carver in Romania, but she is not afraid to challenge tradition. Her work is spoken of with reverence and she is known as one of the most accomplished spoon makers and chip carvers in the world.

 

Zina at work
Zina at work

 

One of Zina's elegant spoons - photo by T. Shaw
One of Zina's elegant spoons (photo by T. Shaw)

 

Spoon detail, Zina Burloiu
Spoon detail, Zina Burloiu

Zina's spoon detail (photo by T. Shaw)

 

However, while her traditional pieces remain much in demand, Zina has much more to offer: she trained at art college as a sculptor, is a qualified and experienced engineer, a tool maker, a teacher and a linguist. Learning and speaking languages is something we both enjoy and it is rare for us to talk without switching languages several times.

 

Collaboration

I first worked with Zina in 1998 at a collaborative woodworking event in Canada. We were both uncomfortable with what passed for collaboration there, so we quietly talked to each other about how we might work together. The piece we made was called Breaking Barriers, both because the event had the same name, but also because it was a breakthrough piece for both of us. I turned a solid cone of wood and Zina carved it with a broken spray of chips that flew as if centrifugally off the piece. We worked so well together and in a way that neither of us had done before. Even more important than what we made was the way that we communicated. It was as if we had known each other for years.

 

Zina and Terry in Canada, 1998
Zina and Terry in Canada, 1998

 

This is Me, Zina Burloiu
This is Me (alternate view), Zina Burloiu

This is Me, 2018 | Maple | 15 cm high
Zina Burloiu

Zina is very famous as a spoon maker and chip carver, but it is sometimes forgotten that she is also a gifted sculptor. She created This is Me as a statement for what she believes in. She stands proudly and travels through life shedding generalizations about her work, just as this piece sheds chips in its trail. It is also an echo of the very first piece we made in 1998.

 

Working Together Across the World

We have found ways to develop our creative friendship during artistic residencies in the USA, China and Australia, but we are very proud that some of our best collaborations happen while we are 15,000 km apart on opposite sides of the world. It is exciting work made possible by digital photography, mobile phone technology, face-to-face Internet conversations and planning sessions. Although it looks like we are working separately, at every stage there is real-time interaction when we fill each other with energy and ideas.

 

Symphony, Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

Symphony, Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu
Symphony, Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

Symphony, 2021 | Maple | 25 cm long
Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

This is the latest in our series of collaborations, which grow deeper and more satisfying every time we have a new idea.

 

Spheres of Influence

Spheres of Influence
Spheres of Influence, 2016 | Walnut | 14 cm x 14 cm
Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

We made this piece to show how we manage to collaborate from opposite sides of the world. The single star represents me in Australia, while the ideas we create multiply into many stars with Zina on the other side of the world. As the world rolls, we are alternately in shadow and light, another recurring theme in our work. The surprise is the small sphere in the lidded container, carved to represent the lines of longitude and latitude that separate us. The limits of the Covid crisis have not affected us at all because we were already working in this way years before it arrived.

 

Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu - Galaxy
Galaxy, 2016 | American Black Walnut | 17 cm dia
Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

 

Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu - Crescendo
Crescendo, 2017 | Huon pine | Length 24 cm
Terry Martin and Zina Burloiu

 

You can see more of my work with Zina on my Exhibitions page.


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