There are diverse carvers who can do fair approximations of most every shape in existence, and then there are carvers that can execute a limited (but stellar quality) number of shapes. One of the many things that I love about Michael Parks’ body of work is that his staggering diversity finds its equal within his quality of interpretations. While as well known for creating time honored classics as he is for his whimsical Special Series, Michael can smoothly shift gears and create hybrids that are so comfortingly intuitive that one would almost expect them to be included on a standard chart.
When I first glanced at this handsome briar, I had something of a pipe guy’s ‘Tastes Great!’ ‘Less Filling’ thing go on; ‘It’s a Bulldog. No, it’s a Pot.’ Then I looked at Michael’s title and saw ‘Stingray’, and the scuba diver in me grinned. When a shape can first pull me in two directions, and then set me squarely in a comfort zone with a title, my ‘comfortingly intuitive hybrid’ definition has been well satisfied. The deep walnut tones of the stain, augmented by the slenderest band of mother-of-pearl, speak of richness without ostentation; the hues are almost evocative of the old-money atmosphere found in the English Gentleman’s club of yore, and yet the modern shape prods the imagination.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves