Jeff Balashak of Manchester had an early passion for woodworking. At a certain point in his high school training he began showing his shop instructors how to shape wood. His class projects of reproduction furniture nicely populated his parents' living room.
Then there was the house fire. When the furniture restorers came to repair furniture as part the the insurance claim, they took note of Balashak's work - in fact, they hired him.
Now, Balashak's work is a mix of his classical experience and his love of primitive folk art. He carves up rustic Santas, tiny work boots and figurative lamps and clocks, both rustic and refined. His more complex work involves 3-D dioramas of carved figures in a room setting.
His favorite piece is a classically-designed case clock made with antique woods. He painted the face with 24-carat gold and fortified areas of the wood with inlaid butterfly key joinery, which is both decorative and functional. "I love using antique chestnut and other woods that might be found in an old 18th-century barn and giving it a new life," says Balashak.
Shown here are his rustic clocks made from antique or new colanders and new wood. The faces are carved pine with hand-painted designs and numerals. The movement also swings the pendulum - either an antique kitchen tool or a new serving spoon, pie server, etc. As he says, " I enjoy mixing it up by using contrasts in time and color."
Even Balashak's classical work is not truly a reproduction. He uses modern methods to embrace classical designs, but always adds his personal touch, whether it is with power tools or the power of imaginative thinking.
Balashak's work is on display at Interior Additions in Concord.
- Susan Laughlin
Jeff Balashak, (603) 361-0661
Interior Additions, 38 N. Main St., Concord
Colander clocks range from $100 to $180
Classical clocks, orders only
This article appears in the December 2008 issue of New Hampshire Magazine