(Self portrait by Geoffrey Kunkel)
Where do you begin to describe the works of Mr. Sawdust’s #3 son, Geoffrey—“Jeff”? Mr.Sawdust described him in his book, "How to Master the Radial Armsaw" as his "most imaginative son."
I would take you back to his early years growing up on James Street in Morristown, New Jersey. It was there that Jeff discovered that with a few minimal tools; a hammer, an axe, a saw, some nails “borrowed” from his dad’s workshop —he could create. From the time Jeff was a young boy he had the uncanny ability to take something he had imagined and create it 3-dimensional.
(Jeff, sitting on Mr.Sawdust's workbench in Morristown, NJ...on cloud 9!)
He could imagine a small house—a houseboat—a tree fort and with an endless supply of small trees in the woods behind the house get totally lost for a day or two. We would not see him until his project was complete—and it was always astounding.
I remember the houseboat. It had a front porch, balcony, complete with bunk beds. We couldn’t wait to launch it on the swamp in the woods. Sadly, we watched it sink to the bottom. Happy to say, none of us were onboard. But Jeff had so many other ideas just waiting to be born.
Anyone who has ever known Jeff would have to agree that he is one of a kind—and his creations are also one of a kind. He is a gifted furniture restorer. He can take an antique piece of furniture out of a junk pile and restore it to its former, like new condition. He is also a gifted sculptor/carver and painter. Jeff still loves to create surprises for people; in fact he is one of the most thoughtful people that I know.
Throughout the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s, Jeff began creating his whimsical “Paintbrush People.” There is a story behind them, one he hopes to someday see produced as an illustrated book; but for now they are all 3-D characters, detailed and amazing.
The “Brush People Chair” pictured here was completed by Jeff in 1998. Jeff lived and worked in the building that housed the Mr.Sawdust School for a number of years after it closed. Here is his description of this amazing piece of art…
“Brush People Chair"
The chair was finally finished in my shop in Chester, NJ (Old Mr. Sawdust School) in 1998,one year after my dad passed away. I would bring it over to the house and dad and I would discuss the chair and my many “Brush People” ideas! I miss all that now!
Dimensions: 3ft - 6in by 21 in
All four legs and back were done on the lathe.
The carvings (Heads) and legs are one piece!!
The entire chair was made of rock Maple (except for the stretchers and front stretchers— they are Tiger Maple) The seat was hand rushed —Geoffrey A. Kunkel
(Pictured below, the spindles on the back of the chair—
each "paintbrush person" has an individual face and character)
....And this is only one of Jeff's many creations.