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AAW Member Profiles: Ron Campbell
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  Member Profile: Ron Campbell

March 16, 2017  

  Ron Campbell likes to honor his heritage, but confesses that this is not his normal turning attire

Ron Campbell was looking for something meaningful to fill his life after retirement. He remembered how much he had enjoyed turning in his eighth grade woodshop class some 45 years ago when, many years later, he happened upon a copy of American Woodturner. He was reintroduced to the world of woodturning and since then, Ron has jumped into turning with both feet and is having a wonderful and fulfilling time doing it.

Name: Ron Campbell 
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MN 
Turning Club: Grand River Woodturners, Grand Rapids, MI & Southwest Arizona Woodturners, Tucson, AZ   
Turning Experience: 7 years


What motivated you to join AAW?
I first heard of the AAW through the Journal and I could see the value of the organization. It was an educational outreach when I joined AAW in 2010 and was able to get the Journal.
When you look at your turnings, what do you see?  
I completed my first turning in eighth grade shop class then was able to return to woodturning 45 years later. Since returning to the craft, I've seen a recognizable growth in my pieces. Much of the improvement is due to the influence of others.

Who, or what, was your greatest teacher/influence?
Being a tool consultant for a local manufacturing company and aiding in the development of a hollowing tool has had a huge influence on my turning. Because of my relationship with Carter Products, my greatest mentor was Wally Dickerman. I had the honor of spending time with him in Tucson over the past six years, and was able to see him one last time when he visited his daughters in Portland, OR. I miss him.
What was your happiest turning moment?  
Without question, my happiest and most rewarding moment in woodturning came this year with the release of the AAW/International Wood Culture Society video. I was so honored to be part of this video. (http//www.woodculture.org/content.cfm?id=419&preview)
What is your favorite wood/tool and why?
The bowl gouge is a great tool! I just love using it. I have four different bowl gouges and love all of them. It was funny to listen to Wally Dickerman tell us about the first time he saw a bowl gouge. He said it was "the greatest evolution in the turning world."
Where do you see the field of woodturning going?
I see the turning world continuing to push the envelope on artistic turnings. More and more embellishments will continue to push turners.


In addition to woodturning, what other crafts/hobbies have you enjoyed?
When I'm not turning, my wife and I travel in our motor home to many areas of our great country. We are gone about four months out of the year. When the weather is bad and I cannot get out my travel lathe, I work with my wife, Lana, and help her cut out a quilt. I love the sewing and the creativity there, too.
Has being a part of AAW affected your life and work? How?
The effect of AAW and the turning world is my life right now. As a retiree, it has given me self-worth and purpose. Not having a purpose at the time of retirement was not healthy for me. The first year of retirement, I was going crazy. Now, the inspiration I have found by attending the last six symposiums continues to push me and give me a purpose.
What is your favorite project or piece?
Recently, I made two twin turnings, not identical, but close. "Around the Koi Pond" and "Salmon the Life Cycle" were made of big leaf maple that I bought on our trip to Portland, OR. These were my first pedestal pieces. Luckily, both of them sold in Las Vegas last March.
Ron likes to enhance some of his pieces like this double-sided mesquite pedestal turning, which is carved to resemble the sun's rays. 

How has your local chapter helped you?
It has been great being able to serve as both vice-president and president of the Grand River Woodturners. In addition, the demonstrations have improved my ability. I am also grateful to the club for volunteering in the "Campbell's Hands-on Retreat." This three-day event will take place again in 2017.

In addition, I am also very active on Facebook. My timeline is filled with my turnings and those of others. I love being part of the turning world there, too.
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