Pandolph the "door maker"
An entrance should denote what is inside, says wood sculptor George Pandolph. A hint of intrigue, he says, might make people want to figure out what is on the other side of what could have been a very boring door. That is why Pandolph has turned his back on more traditional forms of art and put his sculpting efforts into unique entranceways. “It’s so unusual. People really take a fancy to the doors I do,” Pandolph says. “I figured it was a good way to express my artistic feelings and still have a marketable product.” Pandolph points out that most entrance doors have mundane and boring plain surfaces. The most outrageous have some carved panels or a small piece of stained glass.
Why not go for a door with rounded edges of finely crafted mahogany, inset with a staring glass eye? Or, because this is Florida, why not inset a carved bird into the door, flying off into some distant dimension? “Of course, some of the things I have done have been a little far out,” Pandolph says, “and the end result is that I still have them.”
Working in his Mount Dora studio tends to keep Pandolph immersed in wood shavings and glue pots. “Well there’s football and baseball for some people,” Pandolph says, “I have to keep saying ‘Oh yeah?” when people are telling me the World Series is going on.” Pandolph’s Immersion in his work has paid off. He has won at both the Lake Buena Vista Festival of the Masters at Disney World and the Fine Arts for Ocala art show. He is showing in Ocala this weekend, and has been invited back to Buena Vista Nov. 7-9. Pandolph’s success is based on whimsy. Imagine yourself taking time out to visit an art show in between thinking about the construction of your new house. “That happens a lot,” Pandolph says. “A lot of the new houses built in Florida are owned by contemporary people, and they don’t want to get too overloaded on traditional themes.” There is, Pandolph says, about an even split between customers who buy works on display and those who want him to create a unique door for their homes. “The only problem with commissions is that they are limiting sometimes; I’ve done one or two that were just horrible, but you have to do what the customer wants. “The other drawback is that each door takes about 1½ months to build, so if I am doing a double door, it will take me three months,” he said. “That’s why I run about five or six months behind all the time.”
Building doors requires some unusual thought processes. For instance, in order to build the sculpted doors, Pandolph has to have a model to work with. Since the wood is expensive, Pandolph uses a grinder and carves the model design into a sheet of Styrofoam. That way, if a design doesn’t work, he hasn’t wasted an expensive and irreplaceable piece of wood. He applies clamps, and while the glue is binding the dozens of individual parts together, Pandolph is busy working on the sculpted jewelry boxes he also builds. “That way,” he says, “if you have four or five hours with nothing to do, you can stay busy making something else.”
If you want a unique way to show somebody the door, visit George Pandolph the next chance you get.