Terry Martin
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Working with Zina Burloiu

Zina works in Romania and has been a carver and sculptor for nearly thirty years. Zina is the most honoured traditional carver in Romania, but she is not afraid to challenge tradition. Her work is spoken of almost 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)

 

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

 

Zina's spoon detail - photo by T. Shaw
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

 

 In 1999 I wrote an article about her work that was published in Britain. I wrote, “I am sure we will see more of Zina”, but I could never have guessed how much we would work together in the future. We did meet at different times over the ensuing years, but over the last few years we have decided to breathe life back into that original spark.

 

Terry's first story on Zina
Terry's first story on Zina
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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.

 

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

 

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

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