Heather Zusman is a wood sculptor living and working in Southern California. Zusman’s works have gained recognition for their minimal form that features the natural color and texture of the wood grains. Influenced by traditional woodworking practices and design motifs found in Art Nouveau and the Arts & Craft Movement, Zusman's sculptural works are simple in form and purposeful in detail. She fearlessly pushes her medium to the brink: creating intricate compositions that bend, curve, and swell, casting shadows on the wall.
While most wood sculptors bend single pieces of wood with heat or steam, Zusman uses a highly involved process preferred by furniture designers. Gluing together fifteen to twenty layers of veneer, Zusman places the glued veneer in vacuum-sealed packs and manipulates the wood on a peg board. As the air is removed from the vacuum, the layers of veneer are solidified and transformed into a graceful work of art.
Born and raised in California, Zusman holds a B.F.A. in Art History from Trinity College with a focus in Architecture. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Zusman discovered her interest in woodworking while designing custom furniture and lighting at The California Workshop (Costa Mesa, CA). Committing to educating herself further, Zusman was eager to learn how to design, cut, and craft wood without the use of computers and lasers. Zusman was the first American to train at the prestigious Waters and Acland Furniture School in Staveley, Cumbria, England, and later continued her training in Takamatsu, Japan, at the Naoki Ikushima Factory.