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Friday, 30 August 2013

Cindy Drozda - The Fine Art of Woodturning

Here we have a new Artist on our blog Cindy Drozda who's work has inspired me for many years in fact even before i started my own journey in to the world of wood turning

It is my belief that artists of all kinds express what is meaningful in their lives, and in the world that they live in, through their artwork. Our values, emotions, fears, and delights emerge through the work of our hands. Art is, and historically has always been, a vitally important element of every civilised human society. Beauty is important to me. I surround myself with the beauty of Nature. I love to work with the most beautiful and precious materials. In my artwork, I express my love of the beauty in our world. The finely finished interior spaces, and the jewels that I hide inside my pieces, express my feeling that the most precious treasures in life are those that are hidden from view. I like to look on the bright side, seeking out the hidden opportunities that are there for those who make the extra effort to look. Treasures are found in the love of a life-long friend, in "taming" a feral cat, and in the view from the top of a steep mountain climb. When you invite my artwork into your home, you bring beauty into your life. You create the personal connection that creating and owning artwork gives us. I hope you will choose one of my very special pieces to share your life

I am fortunate in having discovered very early that my love of working with wood could be cultivated into a way to make a living. At age 19 I took a job at a player piano factory, where the owner of the factory gave me a valuable gift that changed my life's direction. The player piano factory was the hobby of a California lawyer who loved machinery. He had a large building full of 19th century woodworking machines driven by a working steam engine that he fired up once a year to put all of the antique machines through their paces. There were modern machines at the piano company as well, and I was encouraged to learn about any and all of them that inspired me. The owner of the factory was always available to answer my questions, and to suggest new projects for me to explore. During the 5 years that I worked there, I got a good basic understanding of woodworking, metal machining, brazing, plastics, adhesives, fasteners, engineering, and manufacturing. Thanks to this man, I have been free to discover and pursue my own passion. Working in small cabinet shops until 1992, I then turned to full time self-employment. I explored several options, including making hang gliding equipment and building airplanes, before realizing that working with wood was my true passion. My first experience with turning wood was in 1984, when I made a pair of chairs with turned spindles. Wood turning continued to be one of my many hobbies until I made it my full time occupation in 1998.

Life as a self-employed wood turner is not without difficulty. On this journey I continue to experience my strengths and weaknesses; the greatest struggle for me has been with self-confidence. A tremendous source of strength and inspiration has been my life-partner David Nittmann, whose support and encouragement has helped me to grow as an artist and as a person. My work has been chosen for exhibitions around the country, and has appeared in several magazines and books. I am an active member of the American Association of Wood turners, and demonstrate my wood turning techniques at national symposiums and local clubs. Through my instructional DVD/videos, I am able to share my passion for wood turning with the entire community. My home and studio are in Boulder, Colorado. David and I are "Staff" to three cats, Raja, Carter, and the Sprit of Wiley-O, who keep us busy when we are not gardening, practicing yoga, or running in the neighboring mountain parks.

Bellow are some examples of the fantastic work produced by Cindy

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Michael and Cynthia Gibson

Michael and Cynthia
Our latest featured artists are Michael and Cynthia Gibson

Michael's love of woodworking began at an early age. As a young man, he spent long hours as a shipwright’s apprentice building wooden yachts on the banks of the River Crouch in his native England.

After moving to the US at the age of thirty, Mike began a career as a finish carpenter and later a builder. Mike enjoys boating, hiking, fencing, photography and racing cars. After selling his racing car, Mike began exploring the world of woodturning. When sufficiently bitten, he purchased a Powermatic lathe and taught himself to turn. Now the workshop rivals the paddock. Mike turns full time and is constantly challenging himself with new projects.

Michael and his wife, Cynthia, collaborate on many pieces. Cynthia's love of ethnic design greatly influences her pyrographic embellishments.

A touch of Provence

Tea in Tunisia


Sweet Tea

Tea in Tunisia 


The Gibsons are represented by the  Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina

Mike and Cynthia are proud members of the Chattahoochee Woodturners, the American Association of Woodturners, Collectors of Wood Art, Carolina Mountain Woodturners and the Georgia Association of Woodturners.

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Friday, 27 July 2012

Woodturner & Artist Robbie Graham

Wood Turner Robbie Graham 

Our latest artist Robbie Graham shares his creations from the Wildwood Art Gallery, Lake Taupo, New Zealand. In his own words:

In 1981 I was fascinated with some turned wooden wine goblets we received as a wedding gift and I thought I would love to have a go at making some. So I built a lathe and taught myself to turn using library books about basic turning. My background as a fitter and turner has been a fantastic basis for building lathes, tools and for understanding 3D form. I registered my business "Anyturn” in Perth in 1982 and for thirteen years I did fulltime production turning, making furniture components plus colonial style items such as verandah posts and finials for the beautiful old houses in Perth and Fremantle. So I got bloody good at spindle turning and handling gouges and skew chisels!

In the early ‘90’s I had a Valeri copy lathe, a large useful beast that made mass production much easier and faster. While I lived in Western Australia I loved working with sheoak, jarrah and huon pine. Once we had decided to return to live in beautiful NZ and sell our own artworks, we combined my wife Sue’s wildflower paintings with my woodturning to name our studio gallery “Wildwood.” After having re-settled back here, and building a large, versatile lathe to suit my turning style, I find I especially enjoy using pohutukawa, black maire, matai, spalted tawa and some exotic timbers such as cherry.

Texturing tripod 14

I aspire to promote woodturning as an art form, rather than to produce functional items. Multi-axis and off-set turning techniques really appeal to me so I can create forms in wood that give an illusion of “the nearly impossible.” Living near scenic Lake Taupo, I am inspired by the patterns and shapes I see in the natural world. For instance, a surface embellishment process I often use is to draw up a geometrical design based on a leaf motif, which I then outline and fill with lines and dots using pyrography. I enhance the repeating pattern using mainly iridescent paints.

Black and Blue 1

My own favourite pieces of work include the “Mutant” series because they were so challenging and so quirky. 

Mutant 1

Mutant 2

My wife Sue’s favourites are often my more organic designs, for instance the “Ragged” and “Releaf” series and natural edge forms, plus my sculptural works and also the elegant, classic “Amphora” created for a Greek theme.

Ragged 2

Ragged 3

Amphora (Walnut)

I sell my work at Wildwood Gallery in Waitahanui, Te Papa Store in Wellington, Real Aotearoa in Auckland and Zea-You Gallery in Taupo. My wife Sue is also an artist so she completely understands the ups and downs of the creative process, frequently motivating me to “get going and do some turning” whenever she notices me in a “wafting” phase (which I think of as my “creative designing phase!”). She is my keenest supporter but also totally honest in her appraisals, describing my worst attempts as, “That doesn’t work for me” and jinxing my best efforts by saying, “I hope this doesn’t sell straight away until I have had time to enjoy looking at it!”

Kohuhu 1

Kohuhu 2

Kohuhu 3

Kohuhu 4 

A tool I really can’t live without is my mini-rolly hollowing tool, which is a pleasure to use because it makes hollowing so easy. Also, because pyrography features so strongly in my current style, my heavy-duty pyrography machine and my “famous” air-cooled pen are top favourites. (See my article in Woodturning Design Magazine, February 2012.)

Lost Voyager on the Lathe

Lost Voyager in the landscape 

Voyager 5 - Commission

The Crossing

I am a member and past secretary of the Lake Taupo Woodworkers’ Guild and member of the National Association of Woodworkers and spend copious amounts of time interacting with woodies on the computer, eg. on World of Woodturners, Facebook, etc. Being frequently asked to demonstrate around New Zealand and in Australia has allowed me to share my passion and the knowledge gained over many years and plenty of “learning experiences.” (some people call these mistakes!)

Being highly competitive, keeps me pushing my own boundaries and challenging myself creatively and technically. Highlights in my competition awards include winning Franklin Arts Festival Supreme Award three years in a row, gaining the Supreme Art Award at South Waikato Artfest and Turnz Exhibition Putaruru twice in a row. I particularly like to win awards in the more artistic categories of woodturning competitions.

Horoeka Releaf 10

What's Eating You?

Sculpture has been a big part of my work in the last few years. A most enjoyable commission I completed recently was Voyager II, which was for a client in Seattle, Washington State. Another satisfying major achievement for 2011 was designing and managing the completion of a large-scale interactive public sculpture on the lakefront in Taupo. “The Crossing” represents the awe-inspiring volcanic peaks of the Tongariro Crossing and was created from pine poles five metres high, local Tauhara stone, and embellished by pyrography designs depicting cultural aspects of the lake and mountains.

Tripod 14

Autumn 2

Black and Blue 2

Toru 4 

Thank you to Robbie for letting us share his work. Please pay him a visit at his own website here Wildwood Art Gallery.

Matai - blue and green top (small)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wood Turner Chris Pooley

In the workshop: Chris Pooley
Our new featured artist is Plymouth woodturner Chris Pooley.  In his own words:

My name is Chris Pooley, I am 36 and live with my wife Gemma in Plymouth.

I discovered woodturning while studying wood machining and bench joinery at Plymouth's College of Further Education, not in the machine shop or via an enthusiastic lecturer but through the college library and a copy of Master Woodturners by Dale Nish, this book provided me with a huge source of 
inspiration and in turn the purchase of a lathe.

I started with a Black and Decker drill powered lathe and as soon as I started I was hooked! There was a steady progression finding wood wherever I could to uncover what was inside, bags of timber from the local garage were my ongoing source to produce a variety of pieces for local craft fairs.

Being completely self taught, progression was slow but I read everything available to help me gain knowledge and put the theory into practice.

95% of my timber is native and self sourced, this is collected locally through tree surgeons and any clearance jobs where trees are being thinned out or removed for development. I convert the timber myself and rough turn the majority to speed up the drying process.

My work is varied and although I favour bowls and platters, I receive commissions for  architectural items, newel caps, spindles and replacement furniture parts.

More recently I have been adding texture and colour to my work with surface treatment such as gold and silver leaf, paints and stains and carbonising by
scorching which is my favourite effect, this is achieved by a series of scorching then removing the burnt surface with the wire brush to leave the desired effect, this can take up to four treatments.

Although the majority of my work is turned, I also make various other bespoke items, from furniture, desks, doors, shelves, wall sconces and many other pieces. In the future I am hoping to experiment more with carving on my work, either by hand or adding texture with my Lancelot cutter.

Organisation in the workshop

Having recently moved house I now have the benefit of a 20ft square workshop, this has taken some time to get it how I want. I've replaced the window and door which were leaking, and while the shop has been full of timber tools, etc, replaced and strengthened the floor which is was the biggest task so far!

I also enjoy making my own tools, from hollowing tools, fingernail grind jig, Colejaws, air filter and various other workshop jigs and workshop storage devices tohelp make my workshop time more enjoyable, easier and more importantly safer.

Chaos in the workshop
I am a member of the Plymouth Woodturners and enjoy our monthly meetings,self help and  professional demonstrators, the knowledge that is shared aroundgroups of this kind is superb and helps many turners old and new when facedwith something challenging. I am hoping to take the AWGB tutor course soonand help people looking at taking up this fascinating but time absorbing hobby. 

As I write this we are expecting our first child within the next 10 days so I thinkworkshop time will be on hold for a while!

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Here is the Chris Pooley gallery: 

Ash platter with gold leaf rim 12x2 inches
Hawthorn natural edge bowl 4x4 inches
Lacewood burr platter 13x2 inches
Scorched spalted beech bowls
Spalted ash bowl 8x4 inches
Spalted beech bowl, scorched, 12x5 inches
Spalted oak nightlight holders approx 4 inches diameter
Various spalted beech bowls, 8 to 10 inches diameter
Various timers, gold and silver leaf

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