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Woodturning News: General News

BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT: 'God does all the hard work, I just finish it,' Art on the Square's...

Monday, May 21, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Thirty years ago, Matthew Hatala's wife bought him a box of wood and a bandsaw. On Sunday, he won Best of Show and the $4,000 prize at Belleville's Art on the Square for his unique wood turning.

Hatala said he travels around the world collecting the perfect wood pieces to create his award-winning art. Various kinds of woods, nuts, seeds and other natural elements are meticulously forged into his pieces.

Hatala, who is from Georgia, said some of the wood he uses is so rare, it is sold by the pound. Others are so common they might appear in people's backyards.

"It's just a matter of choosing the right species and the right figure for a piece," he said.

Hatala said he has won best in show awards at various art festivals since he started wood turning.

"I have talent, they've got wood, you've got taste and your husband's got the cash," he said.

His process can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year.

Hatala said he starts by shaping the outside of the piece with hand tools as it spins on a lathe. He then excavates the insides and puts the piece into a drying box for anywhere from a month to nine months.

When the piece is dry, it is remounted and turned until it is 3/16 of an inch, Hatala said. The piece is sanded to a scratchless surface, has eight to 15 coats of acrylic applied and finally is buffed to perfection.

Hatala said the longest he's spent on a piece was 14 months. He said for the 58-by-60-inch piece that hung in his booth on Sunday afternoon, he had to grow fungus within the wood to create the desired blue color.

Hatala said his wife is also an artist and she inspired him to pursue his own artistry. He found a mentor at the University of Georgia and within a year, started wood turning full time.

"God does all the hard work, I just finish it," he said.


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