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Woodturning News: General News

EFFINGHAM DAILY NEWS: Woodturning art gets Mayor's Choice Award at Artisan Fair (05/08/2017)

Monday, May 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
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A small woodturned bowl with red accents at the Effingham Artisan Fair that touted flame effects caught the eye of Mayor Jeff Bloemker Saturday morning.

Because of the carvings and delicate nature of the artwork, it could be found behind a small clear plexiglass protector, while being slightly weighted down, in the booth owned by Jerry Rhoads.

During a demonstration, wood shavings curled from the block of wood spinning on the small lathe that Rhoads worked with during the festival.

A carpenter and woodworker by trade, he turned to woodturning as a way to decompress after long weeks on the job. About 15 years ago made woodturning a serious hobby/business: Jerry Rhoads Woodturning of St. Joseph. He started with smaller projects and let his creativity flow into a variety of wood items.

Today, he turns out wooden bowls, pizza cutters, toy tops, pens, salt and pepper shakers – and about anything that has a round-like shape.

Bloemker presented the Mayor's Choice Award for the piece named, “Flame Vase,” created by Rhoads.

“It goes with the theme that Effingham has a vested interest in here,” Bloemker said about the flame inspired work.

Bloemker said it fits right in with the “Flame of Hope” sculpture in front of City Hall, as well as the “Flaming Hearts,” mascot for Effingham High School.

Rhoads said the sycamore woodturned vase was shaped, then hollowed out and hand-carved. It only weighs 3.2 ounces. He used red acrylic paint as the final touch.

“That was pretty much what I was shooting for and it worked out on the first try,” said Rhoads, with a laugh.

He said he wasn't thinking about Effingham when he made it, but it worked out to fit the city's theme.

“I take a block of wood and put it on the lathe and start making it round,” said Rhoads. “I decide then what I want to make with it.”

He said often he has no idea what the creation might end up being, or sometimes his mind changes as he sees the creation come to life.

“Sometimes you'll see something in the wood that you didn't know was there and nature tells you to do something else in order to highlight that area of the wood,” said Rhoads.

Rhoads and his wife, Diane, attend about 20 shows a year, between April and December. They travel with their 2-year-old Chocolate labrador, Piper.

In its 12th year, the fair that focuses on arts featured work by artists around the region. Rhoads' booth was among about 30 different vendors selling their wares including woodturning, jewelry, pottery, soaps and lotions, metal art and several more.

Lining the street were a variety of food vendors tantalizing taste buds of attendees.

Nostalgic Design, owned by Brian and Kristi Lange of Altamont, displayed metal artwork that has been cut using "computer numeric control." The artist dictates the custom design and the computer driven cutter makes precision cuts. Some examples were the metal American flag with cut stars and painted; or skyscape of the St. Louis Arch, displayed at their booth. Woodworking also goes into some of the pieces.

Only in business for eight months, the couple custom create things that might be fitting for a “man cave” or office/business by decorating with pieces such as a framed motorcycle, Route 66 décor, and a guitar with LED lights, to name a few on display. He said he researched the CNC idea for two years before making the purchase.

“I've always done some woodworking and I started researching different CNC machines and I think I found a pretty good one,” said Brian Lange.

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