Turned wood objects evoke both the beauty and functionality of a tree, they are mementos of a tree’s passing. I use local hardwoods from fallen trees or limbs on my 50 acre farm on the Blue Ridge, near Floyd, Virginia. I seek out wood decorated by the stresses in a tree’s life; reaction to insects, fungus, wind, or foreign objects. Some of my wood comes from the bottom of drained ponds, other from trimmings at a nearby apple orchard. My turnings are functional, and I prefer them to be used even while they are decorative. A large salad bowl should take on the patina of years of service. A simple pencil cup or bed side jewelry bowl should slowly be glazed by small scratches of use.
Wood turning respects and even emphasizes the individuality of every tree. I start by dissecting a large log with a chainsaw to reveal the interior structure, further shaping occurs on the bandsaw. My objects are then turned while the wood is still green and wet. I next dry the piece very slowly over a year, and turn it a second or even a third time to relieve the tension and warping. In some pieces where extreme stress has left bark inclusions or cracks, I will fill and stabilize these features with copper or turquoise dust. Each piece should be balanced for its use, comfortable in hand and to the touch. Each piece wants to be a connection to the nature from which it came.