Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Adiante Franszoon, Master Woodcarver, Tells His Story

I was born the son of a Saramaka tribal chief in the rainforest of Suriname in tropical South America. My people are descendants of rebel African slaves and are renowned woodcarvers. I learned to carve when I was a young boy growing up in the village of Dangogo. In 1968 I came to the United States to get an American education.

I graduated from the University of Baltimore with BS Degree in Engineering but my passion has always been woodcarving. Today, I live in Baltimore and spend the weekdays carving in my studio. On weekends I come to Eastern Market in Washington, DC to sell my work.

My goal is to incorporate the Saramacca Maroon style of woodcarving into the contemporary western style of furniture making. I want to make unique objects that my clients will consider heirlooms to hand down to their children. When my clients speak of my work, they can tell about how each object was crafted because when I am commissioned to create a piece, I collaborate closely with my client during the decision-making process. I do not stain or dye the woods, they are all natural. I do not use any nails or screws in my work, it is all assembled with dowels.

I work closely with my clients to co-create the design, select the wood, and consider the form and function of each object. I use only the finest woods, such as teak, mahogany, and tropical cedar because of their strength and beauty. Each object I make is the result of our collaboration.

I am known for my hand-carved tables, chairs, full-length mirrors, and unique cutting boards. I also make decorative wall hangings, combs, headboards, doors, room dividers and stools. I do all of my carvings with a utility knife. I make things in all sizes, shapes, styles and colors -- just like human beings!

I’m not on social media except for my website and YouTube (see the link below) but you can email, call, or visit me at Eastern Market on weekends.

I am at Eastern Market every Saturday and Sunday (year-round, weather permitting). 

Here is how to contact Adiante:

Address: 2624 Saint Paul St., Baltimore MD 21218 
Email: adiantefr@yahoo.com
Phone: 410-598-2849

To see a video of Adiante at work click here.

Adiante’s work has been exhibited at: The Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland, Fondo del Sol Museum in Washington DC, and Maya Gallery in Washington DC.

He has won the Fine Craft Award from the Cherry Blossom Festival, an Alcoa Foundation Scholarship and a Rotary Educational Fellowship.

If you are interested in seeing or reading more about the art and ways of Adiante's Maroon ancestors, click here.

This is Week 33 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Adiante’s story today.