The discovery of woodturning came late in life. I received a small lathe as a launch on my 60th birthday. I now have three. One is quite substantial.
Nothing happens in a vacuum and several people were instrumental in this journey. Everything started when Mark Duginske hosted a woodturning demo and hands-on that I somewhat reluctantly attended. I understood very quickly that there was more to woodturning than spindle work (as lovely and versatile as that is). I peeked inside the American Woodturner Journal and got sucked right into its content. My momentum went into high gear after receiving an educational grant from the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). The grant was used to attend the 20th Anniversary Symposium of the AAW. The symposium that year was held in Louisville, KY. From that symposium Christophe Nancey (http://www NULL.ateliernancey NULL.com/uk/atelh NULL.htm)from France had a profound influence on my turning mind.
Life has not been the same since.
Show and Exhibit History
2011 – “Think Inside the Box” at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau WI
2010 – “Exhibitour” at Inner Piece Interior Decorating, Wausau WI
2010 – “Art From the Park” at Center for Visual Arts Main Gallery, Wausau WI
2009 – Perkins Art Gallery, Medford WI
2009 – “Butternut Project” at Center for Visual Arts Main Gallery, Wausau WI
2008 – “Exhibitour” at Janke’s, Wausau, WI
2008 – Bailey Library Slippery Rock University. Collaboration with MaryAnn L. Miller
2007 – John Sloan Fine Arts Gallery Lock Haven University. Collaboration with MaryAnn L. Miller
Collaborating with nature is always an adventure, and I love doing that via woodturning. I usually select a timber for a specific object that it best expresses. Sometimes there are surprises; the wood dictates.
The pieces I most enjoy turning are often parables of the human condition, and so I embrace wood others may often reject, allowing the materials’ imperfections, as in life, to express themselves as a part of the whole. I’m influenced by forms found in the curve of a river, the primitive aspects of microscopic structures, the flowing lines of flower parts, the expressions of human joy, even a person’s conversation. Some things can be very utilitarian…or just some bizarre cockamamie idea that pops into my head! Whether the sources of ideas are deeply inspired or not, that collaborative effort with nature is a tight bond; co-mingled with a unique imprint. -NGB
Those Who Have Helped Along the Way
Locally, Aaron Gesicki did the original demo and hands-on. Ed Merjerle taught me the basics and was very patient. I had a pen making lesson with Roger Zimmermann. (He is also full of good tips.)
David Ellsworth was the very first big name I had heard at the demo and hands-on. At that time I had no idea who he was, or the names of anyone else in the top levels of woodturning. That changed very quickly! I dug in with vigor to see “what was what” in the world of woodturning. I found out how much David contributed to not only the techniques in woodturning, but to the AAW and to woodturning school development and much, much more.
I joined the National American Association Of Woodturners (http://woodturner NULL.org/).
The catalogs associated with woodturning were an education in themselves.
I decided to take a one-day class with Bill Grumbine (http://www NULL.wonderfulwood NULL.com/). He helped me not to be a timid turner. His large stature and large lathes and large sense of humor were very reinforcing. Then there was a three-day workshop with David Ellsworth (http://www NULL.ellsworthstudios NULL.com/david/schoolwood NULL.html); then, a five-day workshop with Al Stirt (http://alstirt NULL.com/); then, attended other symposiums and AAW club events. One featured John Jordan (http://www NULL.johnjordanwoodturning NULL.com/John_Jordan_Woodturning/Home NULL.html). My biggest disappointment was after traveling five hours (with my dog in tow) to a Binh Pho (http://www NULL.wondersofwood NULL.net/) demo in Superior, Wisconsin, I was unable to attend due to an unexpected and sudden illness. Last, but not least, is Terry Tynan (http://www NULL.terrytynan NULL.com/index NULL.html), who taught me the basics of spinning metal.
I checked out the galleries online in the U.S. and visited the Woodturning Center in Philadelphia (the new name is The Center for Art in Wood (http://woodturningcenter NULL.org/), and it has a new location as well). I bought a ton of videos and books to get up to speed. At this stage in life, one cannot dawdle. One cannot take 25 years to perfect technique. Time’s a-wasting!!!
There is more to learn and more to turn, always.