Originally from Commack, N.Y., Nick Reale is a wood worker who uses wood harvested from local, fallen, or removed trees, or from reclaimed wood with a unique history. The hardware and embellishments are collected from his many travels abroad including Italy, France, Germany, and Austria and from antique and architectural salvage shops, some being many centuries old. Nick’s work includes wood turning, box making, furniture, and toys.
Prior to taking up woodworking, he spent 30 years with the Pinellas Park Fire Department as a firefighter/paramedic and lieutenant, retiring in 2014. He is also a computer programmer and website developer. Nick’s wife Shelly has always been his inspiration. He started by making things for her that she loved and thought beautiful. It has since expanded to friends, family, and strangers; to see the smiles on their faces is highly rewarding to him as he realizes the many ways others can experience an object made from nature by his hands. He exhibited at the Florida CraftArt Festival in 2017 and won an Award of Merit in 2019. Nick is a part of the Warehouse Arts District and is a Florida CraftArt Gallery Artist. He resides in St. Petersburg.
Taking the living form of wood and turning it into functional art appeals to me. I choose not to purchase wood. I prefer the “start” to “finish” process of taking a downed tree, cutting it with a chainsaw, drying it, cutting it again with a finer saw into my own workable blanks or boards. The piece can be worked with and shaped over the time it takes to dry (a process often taking a year or more). Sanding and finishing brings out the unique grain and patterns each piece has hidden inside. Wood has a character of its own and the detail that emerges is showcased in the finished piece. The result is a lasting item that will hopefully be cherished forever.