Artist Joe McGill took a bland hunk of wood and, through his creativity and skill, turned it into an elegant vessel titled, “Cedar Vase.” His piece, among others, will be on view from Oct. 21-23, as part of the upcoming Arnold Arboretum exhibit, “Turning Wood: The Art of the Woodturner II.”
When the 65-year-old Sudbury resident, who’s a member of the Central New England Woodturners, was asked what he enjoyed most about the art, McGill said, “Taking a piece of what appears to be nondescript wood and discovering what it has to offer as I expose the grain of the heartwood.”
According to the Arboretum, “Each craftsman brings their own personal artistic vision to the objects they create, and the pieces in maple, cherry, and other wood from far and near … offer a unique look at the ‘personality’ within the wood itself.”
Burlington resident John Flynn, 66, has been turning wood for 8-10 years. “Reflections in Walnut,” the artwork that will be featured in the exhibit, was made from a walnut burl from the Arboretum, he said.
One of his favorite aspects of the craft is “being able to help people who are just getting involved with or thinking about starting woodturning and showing items I have done and having people exclaim, ‘You made this?’”
Flynn, who is a member of the Association of Revolutionary Turners (ART), advises those interested in turning wood to join a club where they can learn from each other.
“That is the single greatest thing about woodturners: They will always help you and share techniques. They are a very sharing bunch of craftspeople,” he said.
Norton resident Steven Wiseman said he’s been enjoying the craft for 17 years, and also advises those interested in the art to join a club.
The 70-year-old, a member of the Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners, said when he creates an object he looks forward to “cutting into a piece to reveal the beauty within. The inside of the piece is often much different than the outside, often with interesting and beautiful surprises. What you turn is only limited by your imagination.”
Arboretum spokeswoman Meghana Srinivasan said they “hope that visitors will enjoy the show as an art exhibit, but also as a unique connection between art and the natural beauty of our landscape.
“The woodturners show is a way for visitors to see this beauty through a different lens, and gain an appreciation for this form of art. We also hope that visitors who enjoy viewing these pieces … will develop a further appreciation for our accessioned trees in the landscape as carefully curated collections in a living museum,” she said.
“Turning Wood: The Art of the Woodturner II,” is a free exhibit that will be held at the Arnold Arboretum’s Hunnewell Visitor Center. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 21, from 5-7 p.m. The show will be held from Oct. 22-23, with turning demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Select work will also be on display through Nov. 20.
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