Meet Mike Laflin

I grew up on a farm outside Stratford-on-Avon in Warwickshire, England.  I went to Kenya in 1972 and spent the next forty years designing education assistance programs in developing countries, mainly in Africa.  During that time, I collected art, primarily prints and sculptures and absorbed a liking for fluid shapes and textures.
Many of my sculptures explore how wood interacts texturally with metal: the soft, warm feel of wood against the harder-edged definition of metal.  Most of my sculptures and mixed media pieces are abstract, many of them drawn from the natural environment.  For example, I created a twenty-piece sequence of wall plaques that places images of birds and insects, carved in clay and cast in bronze, against a background of highly figured root sections inlaid in walnut.  Another recent piece has fitted copper shapes into the negative spaces created by a twisted five-foot bough of cotoneaster wood.  My most recent large sculpture is of an abstract whale-like figure, carved out of acacia and inset with a section from a plow disc, jumping through an old steel hoop forged during the goldmining period in the Sierra Mountains.  
I use elements of old tools to create new designs.  For example, I disassembled an old Black Hawk corn shucker and used its intricately decorated cast iron to set off geometric patterns of antique cigar molds set in a background of redwood.  “Arabesque”, one of the pieces featured in the Bodega Artisan’s Co-op gallery, inserted laminated and carved wood shapes into a pair of old sheep shears to form a balletic figure poised in an arabesque.
Others are of wood alone.  Perhaps my most personally satisfying pieces are simply carved out of bay and acacia where line and form show off the warmth and grain of the wood.  “Sheba”, also in this gallery, is an example of this.  I use the extravagant colors and grains of exotic hardwoods in marquetry designs in murals and wall art.  
In 2016, I participated in ART Trails and Art at the Source.  Several sculptures have featured in SCA shows since 2014, and some of the “Roots” series are showing at Stone’s Throw Gallery in Cotati.
Website: www.mikelaflinstudio.com    Phone: 707-292-0499