Tribal Affiliation: Cheyenne
Nathan Hart is a contemporary Cheyenne artist from Oklahoma. His primary artistic focus is creating wood vessels. The vessels are hollow-form pieces that beautifully highlight the natural elegance of the wood. Hart uses different types of wood including (but not limited to) Maple, Ash, Walnut, Birch, and Pine. He is especially drawn to burls, which is a highly figured and twisted wood. These pieces of wood are notoriously difficult to work with because of their high tendency to split and break. Some of Hart’s pieces take months to complete. Wood turning involves the hollowing of solid logs into sculptural and functional pieces, such as platters, bowls, and vessels with small mouths that mimic ceramic pots. Hart specializes in the latter; his pots range in size from 2 to 20 inches and are made of native Oklahoma woods like pecan, hackberry, walnut, and oak.
His particular interest is in using the burl, or knot, and in spotlighting spalted grain, the unique striated patterns that are the result of moisture trapped inside the wood. He encourages the spalting process by sealing the end of a log with paraffin and storing it under a pile of wood shavings.
“I had a goal early on of wanting to make furniture. But, at the time, the cost of the equipment was so great that I just purchased a lathe and started turning bowls to see what it was like. I found what I wanted in wood turning.”
He studied both art and business extensively and is deeply involved in his community. His work has been featured in many national publications and in galleries across the United States. Nathan has participated in a number of juried competitions winning several ribbons. His beautiful wood art can be found in the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC, as well as Gray Dog Trading Company, Tribal Expressions, and The Dancing Rabbit Gallery.