Pointing at a piece of polished amber-coloured driftwood, gallery owner John Moffitt speaks with great admiration of his tutor Terry Brunell.
The One of a Kind gallery space at 225 Haven Rd showcases around 70 pieces of Brunell's wood turning work. As the president of the Nelson Wood Turners Guild, Brunell works as a dispatcher at a local timber yard during the day, transforming lost and found pieces of driftwood to pieces of art work at night in his basement at home in Nelson.
"They speak for themselves, of their histories... being tossed around in the high seas , or lying hidden as irritations in the trunks if trees in the forest. Until Terry or [his wife] Angela stumble across them," Moffitt says.
He says Brunell puts a lot of hours into helping others, including Moffitt himself, teaching them the tricks of wood turning. As a thank you and a way to get the "very modest" artist's work out of the basement and into the homes of other people, Moffitt has organised an exhibition of Brunell's work at the One of a Kind gallery on Friday from 2-7pm. The Creations of Terry Brunell features wooden bowls, vases, wall hangings, most of them from driftwood that Brunell has found along the beach, or trunks of wood found in the forest.
"My mission is to do all I can to expose his special talent to discerning collectors of unique pieces of art," said Moffitt.
"Terry has mastered the art of turning the mundane into the special — the ugly duckling into the stunning swan."
Brunell himself, however, says he doesn't consider himself an artist.
"It's just simply a fact of using mother nature to the best of your ability," he said.
"I think mother nature and the wood is what does it for you, so all I'm doing is enhancing what's actually right in front of everybody but a lot of people don't see it because it's hidden underneath until you cut it."
He works on his wood turning about six hours a week, including the weekly meeting at the Nelson Wood Turners Guild. He would love to work on his passion more, but doesn't "have that luxury unfortunately".
Brunell thinks it's "really really good" that Moffitt is organising an exhibition but all he really wants to do is "to show people that is what you can do with wood".
"I'm not really out there to sort of put me on a pedestal or anything, it's just a simple fact that I like what I do and it's good if other people like it as well.
"I'm here to show people what you can do with a piece of wood, and I would like nothing more than if people like it to come and see how it's done or have a go at it."
The Creations of Terry Brunell at One of a Kind gallery on 225 Haven Rd is open for visitors from 11am-2pm until the end of January.
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