VIRGINIAN-PILOT: To everything — turn, turn, turn: d'Art Center show highlights local woodturners (1
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
VIRGINIAN-PILOT: To everything — turn, turn, turn: d'Art Center show highlights local woodturners (10/04/2016)
It took two saws, a lathe, a polishing wheel and talent to turn a chunk of pecan tree into a gleaming urn.
Called "Starburst," the piece created by Dwight Bullock won first place during the competition portion of a woodturning exhibit at d’Art Center. The Tidewater Turners of Virginia show runs until Oct. 16.
Chapter President Bob Deml explained the difference between woodworking and woodturning this way: Woodworking makes flat surfaces into items like furniture. Woodturning makes flat surfaces into round things like bowls with a lathe. Other materials can be turned besides wood, like alabaster, antlers, soapstone, acrylics and tree nuts.
Deml started woodturning eight years ago. He makes “more functional than artsy” things, he said, like honey dippers and pens.
Bullock, a club member, thinks beauty and utility make a project successful. “Starburst” is made with malachite inlays, ebony, a finial — and lots of time.
“It was not a quick process,” Bullock said.
After shaping the wood, he packed identical fissures on either side with crushed malachite and sealed them with superglue, repeating the process until the cracks were filled.
The piece also involved sanding and waxing the wood to a rich hue and the gemstone to a vibrant green. He picked up the ebony and malachite while on a trip to Africa.
Larry Shiera’s creations, which won a judge's choice award, were fashioned from tagua nuts.
The inside of the nuts, which are harvested from palm trees, look like ivory. Despite its delicate appearance, the material is very hard, so work is slow.
“You can’t rush it or it will chip, but I really enjoy doing it,” Shiera said.
Patience was also required for Jay Hartley’s second place winner, a baseball bat made from cherry, walnut, maple and jatoba woods. He was inspired by one he saw on YouTube.
“I like the challenge of looking at something and seeing if I can do it,” he said.
The barrel of the bat was made by cutting the wood into pie-shaped pieces glued together in rings, he said in an email. Then, the rings were sanded flat, stacked and glued into twist pattern, he wrote.
The process of creating the bat’s handle in a Celtic pattern was just as involved. After the two parts were joined, the bat was shaped on a lathe.
Woodturner and glassblower Jerry Whitehurst won third place for an untitled work that combines both art forms.
In addition to having his own glass shop, he has a “barn full of burls" — knots on trees, which when cut, are “highly-figured and always pretty,” he said.
Cliff Guard created a band of texture on wood dyed with ebony paint in a work titled, “Ebonized Oak Vessel with Deer Antler.”
Besides the wood, paints, dyes and wood-burning kits, he uses a variety of equipment, as well as a lathe. Some “turners” own two lathes.
Guard’s wife, Cindy, bought him his first lathe in 2000.
“The other guys are jealous,” he said. “They tell me, ‘If you ever get divorced, let us know.’”
The exhibit is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
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