top of page



Vance got his start in woodworking in the mid-90's in the mountains of Colorado building Pine and Aspen log furniture. He vividly recalls the feeling he had the first time he applied an oil finish to an Aspen log bed rail: the oils from his rag awakened a sense of wonder inside him even as they revealed the natural coloring in the wood. He was hooked. And he's spent the last 25 years chasing down that feeling.

The limits of the techniques he was learning soon frustrated him; he wanted to capture the elegance he saw in the trees around him, but the furniture he was making required him to chop up the branches into small, straight pieces and connect them at right angles, doing away with the natural curves and forks of tree branches.

What followed was years of searching, experimenting, and learning. He worked in high-end custom cabinetry and interior carpentry, which gave him the chance to learn new techniques. Much of his spare time was spent inside his Downtown Denver studio apartment practicing and developing new techniques for building with tree branches.

In the summer of 2014, Vance was accepted into several art festivals, where he showed his unique style of rocking chair, winning Best in Show at the Salem, OR art and craft fair. However, despite a good showing and response from festival goers, sales were very low. The artist inside him was disappointed, so he took a step back and focused on other areas of life.


Vance traveled to East Africa and stayed for 5 years. This was of course a life-changing experience. He explored African art, including dance, song, and wood carving. He helped to establish a primary school. He led Christian worship services, played music, sang in choirs, and made friends from all over the world. The time he spent with his African friends was some of the richest experiences in community he had ever had.

Carving with Simon.jpg

While living in Tanzania, Vance saw amazing woodcarvings and sought  out learning opportunities. The Makonde tribe is famous throughout East Africa as woodcarvers. Vance spent time with some Makonde carvers and picked up techniques for carving faces and heads, which led him into his next venture: creating sculptures from tree branches with a carved face and head.

Having returned to the US, Vance is now excited to pursue his art full-time. He is living a nomad lifestyle in the SouthWest, which allows him to travel and explore new forests and new ways to express his art in tree branches.

sitting sawing.jpg
bottom of page