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Garry was born in Chatham, Ont., in 1938 and spent much of his childhood exploring the local Carolinian hardwood forests that were then quite extensive. His enthusiasm for forests, wood and woodworking were inherited from his father whose inclination to disappear into his workshop at every opportunity Garry emulates thoroughly.

Finding himself always just ahead of the baby boomer trends, he was cross-country skiing in the '60's, and running in the early '70's. He completed the first of 20 marathons in 1975 in a field of 160 and ran Boston in 1979, among several thousand entrants. Garry was not surprised, therefore, by the explosion of interest in woodturning as a craft and an art form that has occurred since he began in the '80's. Meeting attendance of the Ottawa Valley Woodturners, to which he belongs, has risen from 10 or 15 members to 70 or more each month.

Trained in chemistry, Garry spent 35 years at the National Research Council of Canada studying nuclear decay and developing methods and equipment for the accurate measurement of radioactivity. His work was challenging and satisfying and well received within the scientific community, but it is a new and delightful experience for Garry to witness the instant and emotive response provoked by his artistic work with wood. Nevertheless, his chemical and technological background figures prominently in his work, through his incorporation of dyes and metals in his turnings as well as the development of methods, such as the "Woodsong Woodlace" technique, which is featured in many of his pieces.

He is self-taught and began turning on a Shopsmith Mark 5 inherited from his father. Its shortcomings soon led to the purchase of a custom built lathe recommended to him by Maurice Gamelin, the Canadian woodturner from New Brunswick. This lathe will swing 25" and is quite happy with an off-balance, 75 lb hunk of green wood. Garry turns his green wood twice, roughing out to ½" to ¾" and then finishing when thoroughly dry, which gives him lots of opportunity to plan the details of the final piece. Inspiration has come from pouring over issues of Woodturning magazine and studying the work of Richard Raffan, David Ellsworth and Hugh McKay. He has received encouragement and artistic inspiration from members of his club, from Clay Foster and the work of Marilyn Campbell and most recently from Art Liestman. He is especially enthusiastic about the segmented work of Wayne Hall, who is also a member of the Ottawa Valley Woodturners.

Garry has sold his work internationally, largely through his website, www.woodsongstudio.ca. He especially enjoys contact with the people who purchase his art and share his appreciation for wood as an artistic medium. He also enjoys sharing his passion for the craft, which he does as a member of the AAW and as a participating member of WOW.

His entries in the Ottawa Wood Show in 2002 took 1st and 2nd prize in the open masters' category and Lee Valley Tools chose his work for the cover of their June 2002 catalogue and again for March 2003. A gallery of Garry's woodturnings can be viewed on his website (above) and on the Ottawa Valley Woodturners' website, http://valleywoodturners.userworld.com, which is a trove of useful information for woodturners.

Garry is indebted to his family, two very successful daughters, three wonderful grandchildren and most especially his wonderful wife of 44 years who is so patient with the obsessed creature who emerges from the studio, hanging with dust like an apparition, spreading it through her otherwise lovely home.

 


 

 

     
  White birch and blackwood 6"h x 5"d. Orienting the grain this way really accentuates any figure and birch is very accomodating about not cracking around the pith.   "Vase of Fire" 8.5"h x 5"d. This box elder or manitoba maple vase was featured on the march 2003 Lee Valley catalog cover.  
     
  "Cream Soda" Vase of Fire and this open vase have a remarkable ammount of natural red. The emphasis is on creating a form to best display this natural feature. No embelishments are required. This vase is finished with an acrylic which leaves the light parts whiter and softens the contrasts. 6"h   Lids! Unhappy with commercial potpourri lids, a technique was developed to produce a wooden one that was light and with lots of opening. The method is described on the Ottawa Valley Woodturner's website and here on Woodturner's Resource.  
  "Getting the form right is paramount in woodturning; but sometimes decorations can add enormously to the artistic expression. I have tried to introduce a number of artistic enhancements in my work, and these are a few examples." - Garry Bowes  
     
  This bowl, with a matching mahogany potpourri lid, has an apple/walnut braid at the centreline.   Putting in the braid is a slow process and getting the line in the braid to run smoothly is challenging.  
     
  "Walnut Geyser" 6"h x 6"d. After developing the technique for the potpourri lids, it was applied to decorate bowls and vases such as this walnut piece. This treatment is called "woodsong woodlace"   The woodsong woodlace is used here in the pedestal and to lighten the edge of this 12" cherry bowl.  
     
  "Lace Shadows" 11"d x 6"h. "Woodsong woodlace" was applied to the entire bowl. In the potpourri lids, the internal grooves run parallel to each other, but for this walnut work, they are radial.   Black walnut is a beautiful wood but frequently needs something to counteract the heaviness of a darker wood. Here a chain of alternating catalpa and spalted maple has each link diving under the next one. 6"d x 5"h  
 
  "Necklace" 6.5"h x 5"d. The chain in this poplar hollow form vessel is of pernambuco and resembles a necklace on a pale throat. Pernambuco is an orangy-brown wood but one hour of fuming in an ammonia atmosphere produces a purple-red that permeates the wood completely.   "Anthemion" 8"d x 5"h. Bloodwood is used to simulate a flower in this manitoba maple hollow form.  
     
  Massuranduba, wenge and aluminum, 6"h. Introducing metals such as brass, aluminum and pewter into turned work is an interesting challenge. Wood/metal bonding and subsequent movement of the wood must be considered.   "Chromoform" 7.5"h x 7.5"d. Bright rings of metal contrast with the overall darkness of this elm vessel. Layered dyeing gives subtle pools of color in the black body.  
     
  "Night" grouping. Layered dyeing and aluminum inserts are used to give an impression of twilight to these elm pieces: "nightfall", "aurora" and "jungle moon".   "Pax Nocturnum" 6"d x 5"h. Random dots of aluminum resemble stars in this elm vessel with blackwood collar.  
 

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