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Sculptor-woodworker Alma Allen logs his work at Heath Ceramics; reception tonight

November 5, 2009 |  6:01 am

AlmaAlma Allen didn't come up with the idea of transforming tree trunks into side tables and stools, but during the past decade, the sculptor and woodworker behind the now-defunct Venice gallery Pearce has certainly refined the concept. His work has found its way into the vocabulary of art collectors and decorators, and his pieces helped to create a look that's been dubbed "rustic modern." Even West Elm has taken notice.

Allen, above, uses a chainsaw and lathe to turn salvaged woods into sleek forms. The interiors firm  Commune Design commissioned the artist, now based in Joshua Tree, to create side tables, above left, for the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and stools for the Oliver Peoples store in Malibu, above right.

AlmaCommuneHeath_2 Allen recently teamed with Commune and Heath Ceramics to create a collection of Bauhaus-influenced pottery. The line includes canisters with lids that Allen crafted from solid walnut, right. They are priced $125 to $325. 

Heath Ceramics' L.A. store will be displaying and selling other recent work by Allen. Among the highlights: highly polished ironwood bowls and sculptures in marble and bronze that recall the work of modernist Constantin Brancusi and architectural tables made from slabs of solid wood and metal bases. You can see them after the jump.

From 5 to 8 p.m. today, Heath will host an artist's reception. It is free and open to the public. Allen's pieces will be in the store through the end of the year. 


Above: Ironwood bowls start at $170.


Above: A solid ash coffee table on a powder-coated steel base measures slightly larger than 2 by 3 feet and stands 14.5 inches high. It is $1,700.


Above: Allen's small bronze, far left, is $500. The angular polished black marble piece, and the brown-tinged marble piece in the photograph at right are $1,500 each.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Nancy Pearce / Allenpearce.com