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Finding beauty in discarded wood was an early motivation for my work at the lathe. When I first started turning bowls, my sources were old rhododendron trunks, holly, and black birch from around the yard. I would also use fallen branches from the neighborhood, old floor joists, and firewood. Local woods are my inspiration now. The San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula and Seattle provide an amazing array of turning opportunities.
Searching for what’s under the bark, the excitement comes from uncovering each layer. Rather than imposing a design concept, I try to see where the bowl wants to go. I enjoy truing up a previously turned bowl for a sleek refined look, or turning a bowl while the wood is green and letting the wood warp to its natural inclination. Natural edges to interesting rims are dictated by the wood’s condition and beauty of the bark. What can be highlighted dictates each unique form.
I employ many different methods for drying and experiment with various non-toxic finishes, a favorite being Bio-Shield. I turn my bowls in my shop at Ballard Woodworks in Seattle, and also on a small remote island in the San Juans using Stubby and Nova 3000 lathe, as well as a solar-powered/hydrogen-powered Delta midi lathe.
1807 Nw Dock Place