After nearly 40 years as a woodworker, I still enjoy the process of woodworking; the attention to detail as a piece goes from thought and sketch to reality. I try to imagine evidence of my involvement in each of the steps of that process, a thousand unseen fingerprints, jointing and planing a rough sawn board, gluing, shaping and sanding the emerging form, and the reward of touch, grain and color when a piece is finally oiled.
As a young man, the first woodworking tool I tried and bought was a lathe. It became the door through which I explored the world of woodworking. To this day, the majority of my work still focuses on turning. Mirrors, lamps, and bowls are all lathe-turned, while larger pieces, like desks and tables, often have turned elements. The majority of woods I use are local Appalachian hardwoods. I am drawn to and influenced by the straight lines and simple elegance of Mission and Shaker furniture. I want my own work to express an uncluttered style, a quiet attention to joinery and finish, a sense of strength and function.
The choice I made to become a woodworker has allowed me to live in a beautiful, rural area with my wife, potter Ellen Shankin, where we have built a home and studios and raised two sons. The view from my shop windows is the changing seasons of sky, pasture and woods, turkey and deer. The choice was a good one.