Studio Visit: Rob Homan
Woodworker Rob Homan’s home and workshop lie just a few minutes beyond Manheim, a small, sleepy town nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania. There is no response at the front door of his home, so we wander around back to where he told us his combined workshop and woodshed stood. As we round the house, Rob emerges from his small forest’s edge studio with a warm smile and a friendly greeting. As close as the shed is to his home, the space and the activity within carve out a distinct space for Rob to create. After a few moments spent getting our bearings, we follow Rob back into his workshop and settle in for our visit.
Rob gives us the quick tour of his small 200 square foot shed. Shelves and space for storing bits of wood to be used for later projects lead to a work table filled with wood shavings, hand tools and roughly carved spoons. Small windows let natural light spill over the workspace and a wood stove is tucked in one corner to use in the winter. With only a couple of power tools and a stool, Rob can easily navigate through his small space to complete each step required to make truly beautiful and unique pieces. It is a place of simplicity and calm where Rob can connect with the materials and the process so that he can truly connect with his work.
Once the tour is complete, we continue to explore and talk with Rob as he starts in on his work. We watch as he methodically shapes a large serving spoon he is working on, and as he does, he shares with us his thoughts on his craft—his approach, his inspirations and the appeal his medium has for him.
For Rob, woodworking has been a lifelong pursuit. As a child, he and his brother often explored the woods around his home, and these adventures would uncover treasures to bring back home—small pieces of wood for carving, building and collecting. Rob’s father had a woodshed, so even at a young age, Rob would turn these raw
materials into small works of art. Just as valuable, these projects allowed Rob to spend hours learning the basics of woodworking from his father. From these simple, formative beginnings, Rob developed a deep understanding of the role that nature and craft play in life—an understanding that informed and inspired his work and path through higher levels of education.
This knowledge about Rob’s upbringing and artistic development provides a key to understanding not only how far Rob has come in his woodworking interests, but how his path has led him here and where it will lead him in the future. As he pursued studies in architecture, Rob was encouraged to draw inspiration from the natural world. It was when Rob started to echo nature in his own work—celebrating organic lines and forms by preserving the natural character of the wood—that Rob really started to see his place in woodworking as an art form.
Dedicating time to perfecting his craft has provided more opportunity for Rob to discover his ability to create timeless pieces that will bring deeper meaning to everyday moments. It is with his skill and intention that Rob works to make work that allows people to find stronger connection to his pieces. Rob loves cooking and sees the power in cooking a meal—bringing people together and making memories, so he works to make objects that make those meals and moments more significant to the people sharing them.
After watching Rob carve out the better part of a spoon and picking his brain on all aspects of woodworking and living in Manheim, the time comes for us to leave. Taking one more look around, eyes lingering on the almost-finished pieces on his work table, we say goodbye to Rob and take to the road with new perspectives and a fresh look toward the possibilities and inspiration always present in nature and our surroundings.