MINT HILL – Christopher and Noah Tallent have lived near the woods along Goose Creek their entire lives.
So when the two brothers decided to launch their own artistic organization, it seemed natural to turn to a place they’d loved since childhood for inspiration.
The Tallent brothers – Christopher, 29, and Noah, 26 – recently launched Goose Creek Woods, a woodcarving art effort in which they gather pieces of wood that have fallen naturally in the rural forests and woods bordering Goose Creek in the community of Fairview, near Mint Hill. The two create their own unique artwork from the gathered wood and have begun displaying and selling their creations at local art fairs and festivals.
“We’re trying to get out there and test the waters and see what people think of (the artwork), get their reactions,” Christopher Tallent said. “It’s been a positive reaction overall.”
Woodcarving wasn’t always something the brothers did together. While Noah has had an interest in woodworking and furniture making for quite a while, Christopher’s area of artistic expertise was always music. But about four years ago, Christopher enrolled in a woodworking class at Central Piedmont Community College and realized he enjoyed the hobby, and subsequently decided to try to build his own guitar.
Christopher’s interest in woodcarving soon began to grow, and before long he was looking at books and other woodcarvers’ work for inspiration.
“I started looking online and found plenty of inspiration from other woodcarvers. Following examples from there, and other things by the books and doing some things not necessarily by the book, I just started winging it.”
The brothers are exactly three years and one day apart and have developed a close relationship over the years as they’ve shared birthday parties and special interests.
“We’re like twins, but three years apart,” Christopher Tallent said.
So as Christopher continued to strengthen his own woodcarving techniques, the brothers decided to work together. Christopher said though his and Noah’s styles are very different, they work well together to create unique and diverse art.
Noah has done a fair share of carpentry and traditional woodworking and has developed a style that’s more symmetrical, Christopher said.
“There’s more symmetry in what he does. He’s still thinking from a carpenter’s angle and follows a straight line instead of a curve, so to speak,” he said.
While Noah’s creations follow the traditional method, Christopher’s are the exact opposite. Christopher dabbles in a variety of abstract art, looking to ancient Egyptian pieces and cultural artwork, such as tikis, for inspiration.
“I’m trying to find my style. I dabble in face sculpture for one week, then go on and do some whimsical carving for another week or two.”
When working together on a piece of artwork, Noah will often do all of the measurements and carve out the basics while Christopher follows up and adds his own unique details. For example, Noah will carve dovetail boxes from different types of wood, and Christopher will carve a “decoration to spice it up.”
The brothers typically visit the woods along Goose Creek about every two months to scout out some pieces of wood to work with. They’ll often look for a specific kind of wood, such as cedar, that will endure the test of time.
They also look for pieces of wood with a unique shape that allows them to make something creative out of it.
Christopher said gathering wood from the forest near where he and Noah grew up definitely makes their artwork more special than if they purchased wood from a shop.
“Just having that connection with the trees that grow there, with those being the native woods where we’ve grown up pretty much our whole life … it has a sentimental effect,” he said. “There are no doors, no cash registers, but it’s like browsing the aisles in a way for … whatever it is you dare to find.”
The brothers recently promoted Goose Creek Woods during two Mint Hill events – Sunday Afternoon in the Park and Bain Daze – and hope to continue introducing their creations to the local communities.
“We’ve had a nice number of purchases from those events. We’re looking to go out and do more of that thing,” Christopher Tallent said.
He added he wants people to realize “the time and thought that was put into this art … It was handmade, here in the Carolinas from a woods that the artist has known his whole life. I think that’s kind of a unique thing that I would want someone to know after they’ve made a purchase.”
Find more information about Goose Creek Woods and view photos of the Tallent brothers’ artwork at www.facebook.com/GooseCreekWoods.