All of my life, I have been drawn to work with wood. In 2000, I found woodturning and have become addicted to it as a medium for expression. Like everything in nature, each piece of wood has its own character. Each piece is much like every other piece of that species, but each also has its own personality and appeal. I find few things in life more enjoyable and satisfying than seeing that personality emerge from a large wet lump of wood and doing my best to bring out its beauty and character.
To me, the process of exposing that inner beauty is in many ways, the most enjoyable part of the process. Listening to the hiss of a sharp gouge as it peels away wet shavings and watching them fly in a long arc to finally land in a huge pile is a singular experience. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the original purpose was to make something useful and beautiful and not to just make shavings! However, in the end, we need to remember that the tree spent a lifetime developing its unique qualities and we should try to preserve rather than destroy the fruits of that effort.
Nearly all of the wood I use comes from trees that have been felled due to disease, storms or development and destined to be ground into mulch or hauled to a landfill. While I know it’s inevitable due to progress and our need for building materiels, for me, it is always a little sad to see a tree down regardless of the reason. They look like fallen soldiers forgotten on the battle field. Woodturning is one of the few ways that we, as individuals, can preserve a little of a tree that once stood tall and proud and it’s wonderful to be part of that community.
It has been said that when turning, your hands will tell you when a piece is finished. Wood is a material like no other and it will tell you, through your hands, that it is what it is meant to be. Each time that happens, it is as if it were the first time and I am thankful that I am able to experience that moment again and again.