The Wooden Wardrobe


Just looking at pictures of Fraser Smith’s work would cause you to think he was a clothing designer, but a closer look will reveal his amazing talent and eye for detail. The pieces Smith creates are made entirely of wood. Using a technique called trompe l’oeil Smith has created almost an entire wardrobe’s worth of life-like wooden garments. Merriam-Webster defines trompe l’oeil as “a style of painting in which objects are depicted with photographically realistic detail”. Smith has succeeded in fooling the eye into thinking it is looking at fabric.

Fraser Smith is a woodcarver from Mississippi who has created a collection of jackets, shirts, quilts, and hats all made out of wood and all amazingly realistic looking. Smith describes his technique by saying, “I try to fool the eye from about 3ft, not 3in. Each piece is carved from a single block of basswood and stained with water-based pigments. The stain allows the texture of the wood surface to remain exposed, which lends to the illusion of fabric. I do not carve exact replicas of cloth, but rather something that looks like what our “mind’s eye” perceives as cloth. At first, you see a quilt and you’ll make some sort of mental judgment on that. Then you discover that it’s a block of wood, and you have to immediately change that judgment.” Smith’s stunning pieces are on display in Palm Beach, Florida at the Russeck Gallery and pictures of his wooden sculptures can be found on his website at gofraser.com.

Image from gofraser.com

Image from gofraser.com

Image from gofraser.com

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