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Meet Brunswick Intarsia Artist : Bradley Eklund

Dan Dodge

Bradley Eklund received a 2019 Regional Artist Grant to allow him to purchase a sander. Brunswick Arts Council (BAC) is a partner with this grant program – congratulations! 

Photo (left) – Bradley Eklund and Rhonda Bellamy of New Hanover Arts Council.

Bradley Eklund and his wife, Hazel Trinidad, are local wood artists who specialize in an art form known as Intarsia, which uses small segments of wood that can be shaped, carved, and assembled to create an image of some sort. They also create Free Standing Puzzles. These are similar to jigsaw puzzles, except they stand up and use the same tools and techniques as Intarsia. Both of these art forms require much skill and ultimately are very time-consuming and tedious. Bradley would love to see more diverse artists and Intarsia artists come out and express their work.

How did you initially get into wood art?

“I was woodworking probably at 10 years old. My grandfather originally did it just as a hobby, and he kind of taught me a little bit. Then I went to high school, and we had a big woodworking shop there. I spent a lot of time there. I also had a neighbor who took me on as an impenitence, and he was an antique furniture replicator and restorer. He kind of taught me some things, also.” Bradley and Hazel initially took this up as a hobby, but have been doing it full time since 2014. He would describe himself as an “accidental artist,” for he did not intend for it to become a full-time job.

How has your art changed over time?

“We first started making things; they were just puzzles. We still make puzzles, but now we don’t use any stains or dyes, and we use premium and high-quality woods. It has just gotten a lot more refined.” They now create their own designs all from scratch and have a much bigger variety, while in the past, they purchased the designs from magazines.

What inspires you and your work the most?

“My wife and I are big environmental-minded people. Something that is really important to us is the environment and wildlife, so we try to capture that in our work. The other inspiration I’d say would probably be our kids. We have two kids, a nine-year-old boy, Tristan, and a five-year-old girl, Lily.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Never say never, because you never know, and if that were the case, I would’ve not thought that I could be doing this now.” Overall, it has taken a lot of time and dedication, but what once used to be a hobby is now a full-time job for Bradley and Hazel.

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