"Events in my early years ensured my love for wood. One was the thrill of turning a platter in shop in early school days, an experience I never forgot. One was refinishing antique furniture from auctions that came to furnish our home. A tremendous inspiration and motivation was seeing an artistic woodturning display at the Renwick Museum in Washington in the early 80's.

Now, after ten years of turning 'classical' pieces on weekends, my current work is motivated by three quite new things. - First, while treatments of fundamental design give thorough attention to each of the three dimensions, only token reference is made to "the fourth dimension", movement. This has stimulated me to explore how movement might add to the esthetics of woodturnings, and what kinetic wood art exists. There is practically none. My initial ideas and some of my earlier mobile work are the subject of an article, "Turning to the Fourth Dimension", in "American Woodturner" 17:36, Fall 2002. My mobile pieces are currently 'animated' by small, adjustable, step-rotations of a stand I designed for that purpose. Otherwise the source of energy for movement - wind, shaky floors, viewer participation! - can be a challenge.

Second, my lifelong work in biophysical scientific research continues to draw me back to fundamentals of geometry and shape, symmetry and assymetry, and abstract sculpture: hence my current obsession! with 'femispheres' and their many possibilities, a fascinating new geometric form (see Scientific American October 1999 (p116)). Most of my scientific research concerns the role of water in the dynamic structure of large molecules and in the assembly of those molecules into large structures. Polyethyleneglycol (PEG, yes that PEG) is used to quantitatively stress and dehydrate such systems. Using these principles I am curious about the mechanism by which PEG and detergents stabilize wood and I am currently experimenting with other more common and more compatible molecules that may do the same job.

Thirdly, both movement and shape, and the distorted surrealism of objects like Dali's soft watches, motivate my very recent fragmented pieces. This involves a process of deconstruction of 'classical' pieces and their reconstruction into something that, for the moment at least, harks back to the original piece. After 'deconstruction' into ten or twenty pieces, it is still a delightful challenge to predict what the reconstruction will bring, and of the many possibilities which are esthethetically the most pleasing.

The intellectual dualism of scientific research (where a piece of work is either right or wrong and in either case worth absolutely nothing if it is not completely original) and artistic work (where on my first refusal by a jury led me to seek where I had gone "wrong"!) continues to intrigue me. The mental transition is not so easy. Valuable to me is a unique small "Designers Group" of a dozen woodturners in southern Ontario who meet to visit or invite tutors to learn about artistic inspirationa and design principles in all media. The virtues and the value of such a group in design education has been described by Steve Loar in "Woodwork" magazine in December 2003, page 57."

Peter Rand is a research scientist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was finally inspired to do woodturning himself by turners of classical Greek olive wood vessels, seen in the hills of Corfu, and of old yew goblets and chalices, seen in the south of England. Largely self-taught, he has learned basics with Maurice Gamblin of Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, and with Alan Stirt of Vermont, at the Arrowmont Crafts School, University of Tennessee. His work has been shown in gallerys in Toronto and the Niagara peninsula and some can be seen at http://www.brocku.ca/researchers/peter_rand/.


  4 8  
  osage orange mobile
7" dia turned, cut, displaced - reassembled with fine wires, integrated back mount
  "Swinging platter"
mobile - 6" x 9" oak
cut, reassembled with fine wire, suspended on a single fine wire
  9   5  
  "Winds blow, wines flow"
mobile goblets turned, cut -reduced - reassembled/mounted with fine wire This piece has won awards but keeps evolving!
maple 7" high
currently with the AAW "From Sea to Odyssey" Exhibition
  6   7  
maple 6" high
maple 3" dia.
  18   13  
maple - 6" high - turned, dyed, finished, cut, "reshaped", dyed, glued
mobile - 9" high
honey locust, stainless steel
  12   11  
  random multilaminated baltic birch plywood, dyed, slightly carved femisphere - 6" dia. - the two halves of the femisphere are kept separate, ceramic magnets embedded in the 'feet' make a playful sculpture  
14   15
  Shiro Plum
natural edge femisphere - 8" dia.
  "playbears" ornamental cherry, dyed - a highly sculpted 'femisphere' form - 9" dia. - the two halves kept separate make a versatile sculpture  
  16   17  
  dyed/gold paint baltic birch plywood - grooved femisphere - 4" dia   "pssst - Fifi's pregnant"
a mobile 'cocktail party' made of many woods and whale bone - each mounted on a single fine wire - small step rotations of the base (14" dia) keep the body language and 'gossip' going.
  19   10  
walnut and aluminum - laminated femispheres - 1-4" dia.
  dyed baltic birch plywood - sculptured femisphere - 4" dia.