many others, Hector Patrucco "retired and became a woodworker."
In his case, that meant retiring to Brazil, his wife's country of
origin, from a career as an architect designing medical facilities.
in the American 'rat race,' I worked hard and commuted a lot to
support my family," Hector said. "And, although I had 'my
garage,' I did not have time to do woodworking."
had, as a boy, learned about tool usage from his father, who passed
away in 1960 when Hector was 14. Hector's dad was an electrical
engineer who had graduated from a technical high school "that
taught him to work on any material available at that time. In those
few years I was privileged to enjoy his company, I saw him making
many beautiful things with his hands."
still holds on to some of his father's tools – as well as a lamp
his dad made probably 70 years ago. Hector himself currently has a
relatively small shop full of tools he's been bringing from the U.S.
"My work, though, is done by hand, mainly by carving, mostly with
an unbelievable set of chisels called Stassen that were purchased in
my country of origin, Argentina. They are made with the steelwork
German tradition and are a pleasure to use, with a very inexpensive
allows me, I feel, an intimate contact with wood. Machine-work is
fine and produces extraordinary pieces. But carving appeals to a
creativity level that is very satisfying to me. In a way, I feel that
very few things stand between me and the final piece. I guess it is
addition, there are situations that can only be solved by hand
Hector's favorite tools are German-made, purchased in Argentina, he
does offer his perspective as one who has lived in both the U.S. and
elsewhere, noting that, "the U.S. has the best selection of tools,
reasonably priced, and a huge tradition of widespread handiwork
skills. This phenomenon fosters the enormous quantity and superb
quality of artists."
his own artwork, the
woods Hector chooses for his sculpturally carved pieces often include
cedar and tigerwood. "Those two types, besides their beauty and
availability, have a particular stability and ease of work that is
very appealing to me," Hector said.
does note, however, that as Brazil, like many other countries,
strives to put into place environmental conservation regulations that
affect certain woods, "I notice how every year that goes by
experiences more difficulties to access wood."
has also sometimes incorporated other materials, such as stone or
copper, into his woodwork, a choice he attributes to his curiosity.
"I guess I will continue experimenting with a combo of different
materials, always with a wood base or main motif. I have a lot in the
'imagination oven' and so little time..."
current, in-progress work, for example, is being created for a
psychologist friend. "It represents a man carving himself out
called 'Elaboration' (an allegorical representation of what he does
at work with his patients). He has reached his left leg, which will
be left kind of unfinished. Right now, I like this one a lot. It is
1x1 meter, a little bit larger than three feet. It is made of 1x4
slates all glued together into a plank."
now, the retired architect is his own primary audience for the pieces
he makes. When he gets enough of them together, he has thought about
seeing if he could interest a gallery in a one-man exhibition, but
says he is no hurry. "Just enjoy life as it is."