My interest in woodturning began while studying forestry at the University of Vermont where I squeezed a wood shop course into my crowded schedule. Inspired Stephen Hogbin's woodturning book , I set out to turn a pair of candlestick holders. After a trip to a nearby woodlot I headed into the shop with two cylinders of paper birch branch. With a scraper in hand I began turning. I was shocked. How could this be so enjoyable? Long ribbons of green -wood shavings were floating over my shoulder.
Since that moment I have been developing my craft both on the job and through personal study. I began as an apprentice and employee for furniture makers Bruce Beeken and Jeff Parsons who, as Beeken/Parsons, design and build hardwood furniture. Their forest-based approach to furniture design and thorough technical grasp of the processes involved inspired me to pursue my work with an equally thorough understanding of its basis. I learned woodturning through production work at Woodbury's of Vermont, a 60+ year old company in Burlington that still manufactures and sells hand-turned hardwood bowls. There I had the unique experience of learning from a turner who has been at it for most of his life and has probably turned more than 100,000 bowls!
I was able to purchase my own equipment incrementally, find a roof under which to house it, and transition to my own work from the production environment of Woodbury's. In an unheated pole barn adjacent to my home, I began turning green wood bowls. I marketed through word of mouth and local farmer's markets. Designing my own work processes and tapping the abundant sources of hardwoods available at my back door was very exciting. I discovered what seemed like unlimited possibilities of designs and woods with which I could experiment.
Further individual study and workshops with professional woodturners Luke Mann and Dick Montague helped deepen my aesthetic sensibilities of the turned form and broaden my technical abilities as a woodturner.
I continue to learn and teach in the growing community of woodturners through a local woodturner's guild, The Woodchuck Turners of Northern Vermont. I teach woodturning workshops at the Shelburne Art Center, through public demonstrations, and private classes from my studio in Cambridge. In addition to wooden bowls I have begun to produce custom architectural turnings such as porch columns and table legs.