My earliest memory of working with wood was when I was about four years old helping my grandfather in his workshop. I was probably more of a hindrance than help, but I have fond memories of it.
My first appreciation of wood came from my membership in the Boy Scouts. There I learned the many uses of trees and wood for shelter, fuel, tools and food.
During my teens I spent several summers doing construction where I met and worked with a German master carpenter. From him I learned the skills of fine carpentry. I began working for him full time after graduating from high school, and was working for him when I married in 1973. I never saw wood as an art form before then. My wife's family is an artistic collection of wood carvers, furniture makers, oil painters, graphic designers, musicians, storytellers, weavers and textile artists.
I have spent most of my adult life as a trim carpenter, and my favorite pasttime is creating with wood. Frames, trays, cabinets and jewelry boxes were among my first creations, but I really found my niche when I began working on the lathe. I saw some woodturnings at a craft show and thought I might give it a try. A close friend helped me get my first lathe and encouraged me in my early feeble attempts at woodturning. Over the past eleven years I have refined my skills turning local hardwoods.
I prefer turning objects from found and salvaged wood. Sometimes it feels as if I have given the tree a second chance at life. Most of the wood I turn is rescued wood doomed for the fireplace or landfill. Rapid urban growth in our once rural community has made wood for turning readily available. I am always getting calls from friends and family about a log on the side of the road or a standing dead tree in their backyard. A large number of pieces I have turned over the years have come from storm damage.
Each piece is unique. Vessels turned from the same log can vary in color and texture,and have different figuring in the grain. Some of these vessels have gone through a two-year process of turning, drying and turning again until each piece is ready for a finish. No two pieces of wood are exactly the same.
Many people suggest that I should date my pieces. I choose not to, for me wood is timeless. Trees are a gift from Mother Nature, we should conserve and treasure them. Trees cut down for one reason or another live on in my art. - Glen