CHAPTER NEWS: Ocean Woodturners, Prvodence, RI - Sculpting wood on spinning lathe becoming a dying a
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Posted by: Kim Rymer
SOUTHERN RHODE ISLAND NEWSPAPERS: Sculpting wood on spinning lathe becoming a dying art (03/10/2016)
What’s the difference between craft and production? Is it because one is seemingly made far away, and the other closer to home? Or maybe a craft is an item which is sold at local markets as opposed to the nearby big box store. For many craftspeople and customers in Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, the proximity of an item’s manufacture is of great importance. And when we think of crafts, do knitting, glass making, and pottery come most readily to mind?
There is another craft that flies under the radar in Rhode Island, one to which its makers are just as dedicated; woodturning. The wood turners in the state, through their organization Ocean Woodturners, are pretty good at it, too.
“I like the immediacy of it, and it’s kind of like sculpting in wood,” said Garet Holcomb, secretary of the Ocean Wood Turners. “It’s organic and flows, whereas when you’re building furniture and houses, you have to plan things really carefully.”
“It can be challenging, I have broken pieces and had things flying around the shop,” he added. “Personally, I find it pretty rewarding as well.”
The concept is simple. One places a piece of wood onto a spinning metal holder (called a lathe), and sands or chisels the piece of wood until it’s transformed into a walnut bowl or oak vase, or any other utilitarian implement, or for many, a work of art.
The craft part of it, however, comes from wood turners thoroughly enjoying, and sharing, their expertise. Just recently, a few members went to Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School to show students their art.
The group began in 1996 when a trio of local wood turners, Ken D’Ambrosio of North Kingstown, Rudi Hempe of Narragansett and Bruce Arnold of Jamestown, came away impressed by a local wood turning exhibit.
Hempe, a long time staff member of The Narragansett Times, saw the value in forming a wood turners club, and drummed up interest through the newspaper.
Now, after many wood chippings and rewarding projects, the Ocean Wood Turners are thriving.
The craft, and the people behind it, tell that story.
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