Close to 30 pieces on display in Laupus Library
By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services
Dr. Leonard Trujillo puts the finishes touches on an exhibit of his artwork in Laupus Library. Photo by Cliff Hollis, ECU News Services.
(Sept. 18, 2012)
Woodworking is a favorite activity of Dr. Leonard Trujillo, who heads up the occupational therapy department at East Carolina University.
Now his longtime hobby is showcased through Nov. 6 in Laupus Library’s fourth floor gallery on the health sciences campus.
Trujillo, associate professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences, has about 30 pieces in “Artistry in Wood: Reflections of Past and Present, Preserved Forever.”
Several pieces are competition award-winners or favorites from Trujillo’s home. “Together they depict the different areas of study illustrating my level of work and interests in carving,” he said. Most are ‘high bas relief,’ an ancient form of sculpture where a solid piece of wood is carved so that the subject projects from the background.
“I essentially love working with wood, the smells, the feel, the way you can shape it, the way it gives you back a special quality when you work with it,” he said.
As an occupational therapist, Trujillo sees the process of carving wood as “constructive destruction” because he has to destroy or cut into a block of wood to create change. As an administrator, he said it’s important to have an outside interest.
“It allows us step away from our work and come away refreshed,” Trujillo said. “Wood carving gives me the opportunity to spend some outside energies toward creating and doing something that, in the end, I have something tangible rather than just having gone to dinner or a movie.”
In the early years of occupational therapy, woodworking was seen as a traditional masculine hobby and often used like other crafts or activities as part of patient therapy. Now, an occupational therapist would help someone in rehabilitation return to wood carving if it was an important part of their life, he said.
Trujillo has been carving wood since early childhood but became more serious when he took a basic wood carving course in the late ’70s while in the U.S. Air Force. He enjoys creating lifelike images of people, barns and nature scenes and many reflect his love of travel and nature. He works out of his home with hopes of one day owning a studio.
The fall semester exhibit is the second in the Art as Avocation series, which Laupus Library began earlier this year as a way to highlight the artistic talents and self-expression of faculty, staff and students from the Division of Health Sciences who often pursue demanding health care and higher education careers.
Visitors are welcome during normal operating hours posted at http://www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary or call 252-744-2219. Visit http://www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary/events/artasavocation/ to learn more about the artist or series.