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Hand tools, both as implements of work and as symbols of a trade, are deeply entrenched in the physical and psychological construction of our history. Their place in our past is secure; however, their future appears less certain. Will these tools become curiosities of our collective past?

In these carvings of Moran's most widely exhibited series, Utility —as a growing body of sculptures— is a depiction of objects designed for function alone. The reversal of materials, while rendering them functionless, is an exploration of the meaning of those materials and their literal strengths and weaknesses. From carving each head to sand-casting each handle, this series is an homage to hand tools, their construction and function.



16 1/4" W x 8 1/4" H x 3 1/4" D

Walnut, Cast Iron


With an expanse of aurora-like dense wood grain on show, the garden trowel’s broad, concave, tapering blade is unique among these tools as it expresses the sweeping fluidity of grain movement. Hand carved from a solid block of Walnut and then turned so that wood meets sand cast iron in perfect geometry, the sculpture is finished with a turned and hollowed functional wood ferrule.

Each piece is 1:1 rendering of the respective tool. All Walnut elements are hand-carved and created from sustainable, salvaged trees. The sculpture is mounted to the handmade frame with structural posts set off in a white shadow box. The narrow Walnut frame includes a subtle reveal of wood around the inside on the box before it meets crisp, matte paint.


Edition of two. To date, twenty tools have been created for this series.

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