As a very young child my mother could entertain me by the hour by letting me whittle on a stick sitting on the kitchen steps. I always had a pocket knife and was whittling on a piece of wood. My sister gave me a wooden airplane model kit at age nine and that got me going building model airplanes for many years.
At age ten I got to spend ten minutes at a lathe. It must have gone deeply in my consciousness but other things came before it surfaced again. There was time out for medical school and the practice of medicine and a family. After cutting a tree in my yard while in medical practice in Virginia I kept some of the wood and began to work with it with very inadequate tools. Soon thereafter a patient sold me some power tools that had belonged to her husband who was deceased. It included a lathe. My growth was accelerated by my four year old son telling his Montessori teacher that his dad could make anything. As a result I got to make everything for the school.
In time I discovered that while I could make furniture I really did not like to measure. So putting a chunk of wood on the lathe and letting it tell me what it wanted to be was more to my liking. So the woodworking morphed into turning.
From my father I learned a love of trees. He and I planted orchards of fruit and nut trees on our farm in Virginia. I love everything about wood. So in my work I like to let form emphasize the color and texture of natural grain. I don’t add color to the natural wood but like to take care so that the natural finish brings out the splendor of what nature has carefully put in the wood. I prefer not to let design of a piece interfere but rather compliment the appearance of the wood and its grain pattern
Over the years I have become more aware of the time it takes to grow a tree and feel that this natural resource needs to be preserved. For this reason I do not buy wood as I don’t know whether it has been responsibly harvested. I work with wood that people give me or wood that has been abandoned. People are very considerate and if they have wood which they cannot use they are happy to share it with me.
A teacher of mine said that an artists puts life in the lifeless. I like to think that I am giving wood, which had been nurtured by nature for so many years, a second life when I turn it into something that is useful and aesthetically pleasing. He said how much life the artist puts into the art depends on how much life is within himself or herself. I have spent the last 42 years trying to expand my consciousness by practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and the last 32 years teaching it to others. In addition I greatly enjoy passing what few woodworking skills I have gained along to others as well as doing craft shows and suppliing stores and art galleries in Vermont.