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10 Questions with Kucin of Deafmessanger Woodturning
I first came across Kucin of Deafmessanger's work a couple of years ago in a typical death scroll session on Instagram. I was intrigued by his large wooden bowls, far too big for a bowl of cereal, and his use of acrylic paints. We have remained Instagram friends for a couple of years now and I proudly showcase some of his pieces in our front-office showroom, one piece was actually featured in Forbes Magazine. I'm stoked to share this short interview with him so you can better get to know one of Prague's rising artist. - Dave Darr

"No matter how bad and frustrating my first attempts were, I was caught"

deafmessanger wood turning
To get things started can you let us know a little about yourself and Deafmessanger Woodturning?
The seemingly easiest question is always the hardest one. What can I say about myself to avoid answers like "I’m 43, a father of 2, and love traveling"... so hey I’m 43 years old and love to travel, even though I haven’t done much of it since my kids were born. I first started to turn wood in 2019. I bought a hobby lathe and wanted to try to do what I saw people doing on YouTube. The lathe was not much bigger than my arm and couldn’t turn anything bigger than 12 cm in diameter. I found some tools in my great-grandfather’s shed and seriously I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily the lathe would stop itself whenever I would press too hard or whenever I had a catch (I had many). No matter how bad and frustrating my first attempts were, I was caught. When the Covid pandemic started I bought a professional lathe and started to turn almost every day. I think my craving for woodworking developed in the shed I mentioned earlier. My great-grandfather was a luthier, so there are all these unfinished projects and beautiful tools in my parent’s house. When I was a kid I used to play in his workshop (he was long dead when I was born) and I admired the traces of his work in the house. I think that raised my curiosity to make something from wood, but maybe it was just my general urge to create that brought me to the lathe.

Take us through your woodshop. What does it look like, what are your favorite tools and finishing processes? Is it in your home or a studio?
My studio is divided into 3 parts. In the main room, my colleague and I make handmade journals and diaries. The second room is storage for finished products. The last room is divided into 2 parts. One is for spraying stencils on journals and the other half is where I have my lathe and my tools. There is also a little backyard. It’s quite a cozy place. I love this studio. The only problem is the stairs. There are 70 stairs I have to walk down with anything I want to bring into the studio. So imagine these heavy logs of freshly cut wood. My back hurts just writing about it. My favorite tools? Proforme Hollowing tool, David Ellsworth signature gouge, easy-core coring system from One Way. I do most of the sanding on the lathe when the wood is still wet. Like this, you won’t lose all these amazing curves and details which emerge when the wood is drying and warping. My apartment is in the other part of the city.

Of course I have to ask, what was the first Walrus Oil product you ever got your hands on?
It was the Cutting Board Oil and Wood Wax For Cutting Boards. I really loved your products after I first used them. I also love the design of your products. My new favorite from Walrus Oil is the Logger’s Bug Repellent. I have spent 2 weekends in the forest and it seems to work quite well against mosquitos and ticks!

I noticed on Instagram one of your pieces was featured in GQ, how exactly did that happen?
Every year a big design event takes place here in Prague. It’s called Designblok and I had 2 pieces exhibited there last year. Forbes covered this event and among other objects, they wrote about one of my hollow forms.

deafmessanger wood turning
I've noticed you subtly incorporate acrylic paint into your work, what inspired this? I see that you make other things too like screen-printed art and journals.
I have been working with acrylic paint way back doing street art stencils and posters. Since 2005, when I founded Deafmessanger Notebooks it has been part of my job as well. I use it to decorate our handmade journals and to create spray-painted paintings. When I started to work with wood it just seemed natural to use paint on wood as well. Like this, you see the connection between my woodworking, stationery products and my paintings.

Tell us about your hometown, is there a thriving woodworking community there?
I come from a very small town and to be honest I don’t remember that there was anyone working with wood when I lived there. Sure, there were some carpenters, but I have no idea what their work was like. In Prague, I know a few woodworkers. A friend of mine creates very sophisticated furniture and his work is inspiring. I know only 2 woodturners from Prague but I’m sure there are many more.

Do you have other hobbies besides woodworking and printing?
Taking care of our house plants, reading, and mushroom hunting!

That makes total sense, I believe I read somewhere you're vegan, can you speak on that? I try to lean-more pescatarian (you know walruses...fish...nevermind).
I stopped eating meat in 1998. I became vegan 2 years later. For me it’s mostly about animals, I don’t want to hurt them or know that they have to suffer. It’s so easy to be vegan these days, the amount of vegan products in the shops is overwhelming. It was not like that when I started, but even back then I thought it was really easy (it wasn’t haha). Are you sure there is no real walrus oil in your Walrus Oil products? haha

Maybe I'm being a little presumptuous, but your also throwing "I used to play in a band" vibes. Do you have any background in music? Regardless, what albums are you listening to right now?
I used to sing in a hardcore band, but that was a long time ago. I quit in 2001 because my hearing got really damaged from playing too loud. Lately I'm listening to Botch - We are the Romans, Russian Circles - Gnosis, Gunship - Dark All Day, Slayer - Repentless.

Is the hearing damage related to your company name Deafmessanger? Also what band were you in?
Yes it is, I'm also messy and sometimes angry, haha. We were called Ol' Testament and I still have no idea why we were called this, haha.

For more information and to connect with Kucin of Deafmessanger Woodturning, visit his website or handle @deafmessangerwoodturning

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