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Woodturning News: General News

WASHINGTON TIMES: Shelbyville craftsman turning wood into art (01/28/2017)

Monday, January 30, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Michelangelo, the Renaissance genius who gave us the David statue, said his technique was basically to cut away all the stone that wasn’t David, and then he was done.

Fast-forward 500 years to rural Shelbyville, and we find wood-turning craftsman Jeremy Williams adopting a similar approach. His medium is dead wood rather than stone, and that wood is often twisted, holed and decorated by the ravages of disease into artsy shapes and patterning. Chucking up a chunk of this on a huge lathe in a chilly workshop veneered in layers of sedimentary sawdust, he gets to work.

“I remove material until I have my desired size and shape,” explains Williams, 31. “With most kinds of woodworking, you take pieces and put them together to build something. With me, it’s the opposite: instead of putting parts together, I make shavings until I’m done.”

And while Michelangelo freed statues from the embrace of stone, Williams liberates a parade of exquisite wood bowls, vases, wooden bodies for ink pens and even wine bottle stoppers. He has been known to fashion chess sets when the mood moves him, and is open to doing commission work. He says customers bring out their deceased wood from favored felled trees and call upon him to transmute it into utilitarian art.

Otherwise, our craftsman prowls “wood dumps,” looking for the dead and diseased raw material the rest of us don’t want. Under his loving hands, it becomes objets d’art that command prices ranging from $5 to about $400.

“He makes some very nice utilitarian pieces, and a particular interest of mine are his ink pens: He uses so many different woods and they are of very high quality,” says Carol Kessler, the owner of the not-for-profit Flourishes Gallery and Studios in Shelbyville.

View source and photos.

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