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Born and raised in Beverly, Massachusetts, on the coast north of Boston, my earliest memories of woodworking were as a very young lad, nailing scraps of cutoffs together in my Dad's basement workshop. Any further interest, however, was a long time coming. After receiving BSc and MSc degrees in engineering from Ohio State University and the University of Southern California respectively, I became employed in California as a mission analyst in the Apollo space program. It was a great time to be an aerospace engineer, fresh out of college, on the cutting edge of technology, with an exciting goal of landing men on the moon a few years hence. However, as rewarding as my day job was, with its demands and stress, I needed to do something hands-on in my spare time. My interest in wood was revived, and I began making bookcases and furniture for our house and toys for our two young sons. I bought a Sawsmith radial arm saw made by the Shopsmith company, and with it the store threw in several weekly demos to illustrate the Shopsmith's versatility (and also to sell you as many accessories as possible!). I remember being particularly impressed at the lathe demo, seeing a very competent woodturner make all sorts of things fly off the lathe literally one after another.

Shortly thereafter, my first use of the lathe was at an adult education class at a local high school, and from that moment on I realized I had a serious affliction called "woodturning." The AE teacher, harried after a typical day of trying to keep his students from killing themselves in class, was a little short on instructions. He would say, "Here are the tools," dull after a day of student abuse, "and here is the box of sandpaper you'll need-and, oh yes, try not to hurt yourself!" I needed more information. A visit to the library yielded very little except for a few obscure "how to" books authored by strict vocational teachers of the 1930's and '40's. I recall the one such book where the author suggested woodturning as a good trade for "troubled boys" whose success in more academic subjects would be problematic! This became a big family joke as I struggled with the lathe myself.

My first lathe project to this day sits proudly in our foyer-a small redwood table, with a carved top and elaborately turned legs. Not an easy project for a beginner, but it sure impressed the heck out of my teacher! My first lathe, and one I used for over 25 years was a 12" Rockwell Delta, bought from a cabinet shop owner who had no commercial use for it. So much for a trade for "troubled boys."

Moving back to Massachusetts after a career change in the 1970's, I attended the final two Albert LeCoff symposia in Philadelphia in 1980-81. What an inspiration to see all the notable woodturners! Stocksdale, Nish, Ellsworth, Osolnik, including "upstarts" like Stubbs, Hunter, Hosaluk, and Saylan. It never occurred to me that years later I would be considered (by some anyway) as one of their peers, and more importantly, good friends with many.

I am a charter member of the AAW and have missed only one of the 17 annual symposia. I am also a charter member of Central New England Woodturners, one of the first chapters to organize under the AAW. About that time my passion for woodturning seemed to accelerate to a higher level and has continued that way ever since. My first juried show was the ITOS in 1988 in Philadelphia, probably the biggest single thrill in woodturning for me. I began exploring hollow forms shortly thereafter, for which I used fiber optics to gauge wall thickness. People seemed to like them, and The Society of Arts & Crafts in Boston began selling my work-the first gallery to do so.

My first AAW demo was in 1993 at Purchase NY, another huge thrill. I was so overprepared that my wife warned me the audience would probably die of an overdose of information! During one rotation I noticed an older gentleman sitting quietly towards the back taking notes. He introduced himself as Frank Sudol, and we have been friends ever since. Now he is always found in front of an audience, and there's no way of keeping him quiet!

In 1993, we moved to Arizona for a better climate, where I now have a 400 sq. ft. studio, and a Oneway lathe with all the bells and whistles. Over the years I have demonstrated nationally and locally, enjoying the company of many fellow woodturners. I am represented by several galleries, have work in numerous private collections, and several museums -- most notably the Smithsonian, Detroit Institute of Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Yale University Art Gallery and the Wood Turning Center.

Currently, my work explores the fascinating world of patterns as decorative elements, and I have many new ideas "stockpiled" as inspiration for years to come. My other interests include acoustic jazz and classical music, both very enjoyable to listen to while turning wood in my studio.


 

 

     
  First Lathe Project
Redwood side table with turned legs
carved top and aprons
26" x 14" 30" tall, 1970's
  Ash Vessel
Heartwood from 4' dia. ash log
6.25" dia. x 8" tall
Massachusetts, 1988
 
     
  Tulip Vessel
Masur birch translucent hollow form
4.75" dia x 7.5" tall
1991
  "Fleur de Neon1"
Bleached curly maple, neon tubing
4.0" dia x 11" tall
Challenge IV Exhibit, 1991, Philadelphia
 
     
  "Fleur de Neon 2"
Bleached curly maple, neon tubing
4.0" dia x 11" tall
Challenge IV Exhibit, 1991, Philadelphia, Fine Woodworking Design Book 6
  "Flora Chinensis"
Pearwood, Floral design burned and dyed
2.5" dia x 7" tall, 1993
 
     
  "Braids"
Citrus wood
6.25" dia x 8.75" tall
1999, Rockler Collection
  Basketweave Illusion
Mesquite
7" dia x 4.75" tall
Nature Takes a Turn Exhibit, St. Paul MN, 2001, Waterbury Collection
 
     
  "Waves"
Mesquite, Black dye
8.25" dia x 7.25"tall
2001
  Basketweave Illusion
Carob
5.5" dia x 6.5" tall
American Art Co. Exhibit, Tacoma WA 2003
 
 
  Basketweave Illusion
Carob
5.25" dia x 4.25" tall
2002
  "Fleurs et Vignes" (Flowers and Vines)
African Sumac
6.5" dia x 8.5" tall
Collectors' Choice Exhibit, SOFA Chicago, 2002
 
     
  "Fleurs et Vignes 2"
Citrus Wood
6.5" dia x 8.0" tall
2002, Selnik Collection
  Del Mano Small Treasures 2003:
Basketweave Illusion, Spalted African Sumac, 4"dia x 4.25" Tall
"Waves," Mesquite, 5.75" dia x 6.0" tall
"Carobian Delight 1," carob, 4.0"dia x 3" tall
 
     
  Basketweave illusion (Discovery Series)
Carob
10.0" dia x 9.25" tall
2002, Barrkman Collection
  "Fatehpur Sikri"
African Sumac
6.25" dia x 9.5" tall
2002. Design based on pierced marble screens in a mosque at the historic city of Fatehpur Sikri, India
 
     
 

"Hommage au Rene Lalique"
carob, dye
7" dia x 7.5" tall
2003

  "La passion de mon pere" (My father's passion)
Carob
6.5" dia x 9.25" tall
carved, textured, bleached, burned, dyed, 2003. One step back, Two Steps Forward Exhibit, Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, Sept. 11--Oct. 12, 2003
 
 

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