Cue #64 Joel Hercek Greek-Inspired Design

Hercek Greek-Inspired Cue

Featured this month is a cue inspired by ancient Greek themes, with specific attention to pottery and ceramics. To avoid cliche and exhibit artistic integrity, Joel studied resources relating to the Greek theme, but ultimately created a unique design that is completely his own. Hercek’s Greek theme features one of his most intricate designs to date. Starting at the bottom, the “Grecian Key” rotates around the cue and sets the stage for a balanced design of bold elements such as Ivory ovals framed by complex leaf designs of ivory and sapele wood. So intricate are the small ivory inlays of the leaf designs that the slightest pressure during the inlay process would snap the ivory. Working with such small inlays requires patience and and expertise working with ivory, achievable only through years of experience. Inside the ivory ovals are a unique combination of shapes and the use of two different metals with subtle differences in color.

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Passage of Time by Joel Hercek

(This description is the actual text from Hercek’s letter to the customer) Little more then a year ago I started on a cue that would in the end become one or my favorite cues to date. When Kamal approached me about making a cue with certain elements such as an Ivory handle, full ebony nose and backend, this interested me very much because it gave me a full canvas to do my art. Cues with points and trim rings limit creativity and steers designs into a more traditional setting. The past several years I’ve been trying to do more abstract designs. I’d love to do more of these however most of my customers like symmetry in their designs and although I enjoy this type of work, I’m finding myself wanting to go outside the lines more and more.

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Joel Hercek

Hercek drew inspiration from the ubiquitous almond-shaped eyes in Picasso’s work. Inlaid points in the forearm feature two eyes that contrast each other with alternating pupil colors of black and white. The almond shape is referenced as the point components traveling up the forearm wrap around the verticle eye. Homage is paid to Picasso’s use of black and white and playful use of contrasting shapes and space. And of course, although the points are inlaid, the forearm is sleeved over a true full-splice blank, which Hercek uses for every cue he makes. The handle section is in three pieces. The middle section is solid ivory. The sections above and below the solid ivory feature alternating long boxes of solid ivory and snakewood. The cue’s otherwise black-and-white palette is challenged by the color and the texture of the Snakewood, which was a design risk because black-and-white cues do not commonly have other colors.

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Rare Joel Hercek Unfinished Cue Blank c. 1994

Early in Joel Hercek’s career (c. 1994), especially during his training from Burton Spain, Joel produced cue blanks that were sold to other cue makers. While this practice was commonplace for Spain, Hercek was more interested in building complete cues. As a result, not many Hercek blanks were sold. Few, if any, of those early blanks remain. This a rare glimpse at the anatomy of a full splice cue, something every Hercek Custom Cue features since he started making cues more than 15 years ago.

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Joel Hercek “Kandinsky” Cue

Kandinsky was a famous Russian painter from the the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. The forearm design was inspired by Kandinsky’s style in the 1920s-30s. The engraving below the wrap mimics the customer’s original painting. The butt design was drawn and then engraved in the Ivory butt sleeve. This was the first non-indexed abstract design, circling the cue, that Joel Hercek had ever produced. Hercek wrote “the original nose design mixed with Kandinsky’s art in the Butt sleeve ties the cue together.” The other challenge building the cue was to still utilize the full splice construction technique. Hercek insists on using this technique on every cue to insure a solid hitting and well built cue. So underneath the black ebony forearm are four full-spliced points. This allowed Hercek the canvass required to frame the design. The joint, butt cap, and all inlays are also Ivory.

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