One of George Peterson’s wooden bowls sits on a table in President Obama’s Oval Office. The bowls are the “bread and butter” of Peterson’s output at his Circle Factory studio at 162 W. French Broad St. in Brevard, but the 50-year-old California native is also known for taking old skateboards and turning them into sculptures.
Peterson has made his living as a woodworker since 1992, and he and his wife, Margaret Kimble, moved to Transylvania County in 1998 after looking for some inexpensive rural land. He chuckles now that they found a good deal in the Rosman/Lake Toxaway area, considering how costly property is now in the county.
Peterson and his wife, who have raised two daughters in Transylvania, built their home on the property.Peterson sells his work mostly at trade shows and to museum shops, galleries and interior designers.
After strictly being a “bowl turner” for six or seven years, Peterson discovered British
sculptor David Nash and others and took more of an interest in sculpture. Nash is known for large wooden sculptures and shaping living trees. Peterson said this encouraged him to “start messing around with different parts of the tree.”
At Peterson’s studio, the property is littered with large pieces of hardwood, such as maple and white oak. Peterson is also an avid skateboarder and one day while looking at a skateboard a “light bulb went off,” he said.
“That’s a piece of wood,” Peterson said of the skateboard.
Peterson, who is influenced by African art, transforms/recycles old skateboards into
sculptures that resemble small African tribal shields. Peterson said the shields are a “direct inspiration” and that using a skateboard
combines the “modern and primitive.”
When Peterson moved to Transylvania County in the late 1990s, the art scene seemed to be more centered on the Asheville area, he said. That has changed in the past few years, he said, and the local art scene appears to be “more cohesive.” Peterson is also excited that the neighboring Railroad Avenue/Brevard Lumberyard is developing with more and more locations for music, art and food.
Peterson plans to open a showroom this fall. “I feel really positive about the art scene in Brevard, and at this stage in my career I would like to focus more on the local audience,” he said.
To learn more about Peterson and his art, go to www.circlefactory.com.