In 1982, he opened Cold Mountain Studio in Southern Oregon. His early focus was on furniture and interiors, but gradually shifted to woodturning and sculpture, moving between vessel-oriented forms and sculptural turning. His work has been included in most of the major woodturning-related exhibits of the last ten years and is exhibited widely throughout the United States.
He states, “Wood and I are comfortable with each other and have a close relationship. I value the connection immensely. I am curious about what is inside wood, how it works. I am always looking for the gifts it has to offer. At times, I am awed by its beauty and the story of the particular history of a piece of wood, the tracks that the passage of time has left. I am driven to expose this beauty, to make it shine. At other times, I am more fascinated with the wood’s inner structure, its more subtle form and spirit.”
Burchard uses Pacific Madrone from the Arbutus family almost exclusively. He favors rejected burls that are harvested for the veneer market which often weigh many thousand pounds. To make them usable, the dirt and rocks are removed, and they are cut into blocks. By working with wet wood of a high water content (up to 20% of its volume) and by thinly cutting or turning his forms (to 1/8”), the artist takes advantage of the natural changes that occur as the wood dries. As the water evaporates and leaves the cells and the spaces between the cells, the wood shrinks and twists and some very dynamic changes can occur.
Burchard works with a chainsaw for most of the wood preparation and also for sculptural pieces. The marks that are left are dramatic and forceful. He uses a lathe for round forms which yields subtle, soft tool marks.
In his series of wall sculptures, the artist uses a band saw to cut large blocks of Madrone burl into very thin panels. These pieces are dried slowly over a period of months in a controlled environment which allows them to take on their final shape while minimizing the chances of cracking.
When they have finished drying, the panels are sandblasted and bleached. The bleach is used to expose what is within, which the artist compares to black and white photography in its simplicity, focus on structure and undulations and textures.
In the series called ‘Books’, the artist uses a band saw. The books are always bleached and are sometimes textured. They are cut from green blocks of wood and a microwave is used to dry the wood evenly and from the inside out. Each book’s form is a direct result of its underlying grain structure and each has its own distinct personality.
Working in this way allows Burchard a freedom and pleasure that is challenging and often surprising. He feels that he is working together with the materials he uses rather than trying to subdue or control them.
Wood Art Today 2, Schiffer Publications
Craft in America, Lauri/Fenton
Masters of Woodturning, Lark
Contemporary Crafts, Imogen Racz GB
Shy Boy, She Devil and Isis, Wornick Collection
Sacred Vessels, CLAL
Celebrating Nature, CFAM
Craft Arts, Australia
CRAFT, South Korea
American Craft Oct/Nov 1991
Woodturning Magazine, 94, 95, 99, 01
American Woodturner, 94, 95, 97, 01
Turning Wood into Art, Mason Collection, 2000
Expressions in Wood, Masterworks, 1997
The Art of Craft, 1999
Contemporary Turned Wood, 1999
The Fine Art of Wood, 2000
Drechseln, 1995, 1998, Germany
Living with Form, The Horn Collection
Woodturning since 1930, Yale University Press
The Four Seasons, Jackson Hole, WY
The Viceroy, Snowmass, CO
Oregon Arts Commission, Santiam Forestry Center, OR
Presbyterian Seminary, Louisville, KY
The Venetian Casino and Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Orlando Hilton, Orlando, FL
The Ritz Carlton, Shenzen, China
American Decorative Arts at Yale University, New Haven, CT
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA
Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA
North Carolina State University, Gregg Museum of Art & Design, Raleigh, NC
Arizona Sate University Museum of Art, Tempe, AR
Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
Art for Embassies Program, Washington, DC
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Detroit Art Museum, Detroit, MI
de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA
LA County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
Royal Cultural Center, Jedda, Saudi Arabia
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Museum for Contemporary Art, Honolulu, HI
Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Stanford University Art Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
University Of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA
2009 Raphael Prize, "Transformation", Pittsburgh, PA
1997 Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship
1974-75 Furniture Apprenticeship, Hamburg, Germany
1977-78 Sculpture, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1978-79 Sculpture, Emily Carr College, Vancouver, B.C.