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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.



20" W x 54" H x 5 1/2" D

Walnut, Cast Iron


A log maneuvering tool, this particular cant hook is based on the one we use in our own work with a sharp pivoting hook—called the dog—bound to the handle by a snug collar and a second lipped collar at its blunt end for added grip along a tree’s curving surface. Each functional detail as been hand carved from Walnut: a threaded wood screw and washer ring tightened upon a wood nut. These refined wooden elements are in sharp contrast to the sheer bulk and visual weight of the heavy tapered sand cast iron handle.

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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