About Me

A bit of background

I began woodworking as a hobby in the early 1980s, but my first taste of woodturning occurred in 1988, when I bought a Shopsmithâ„¢ and took their introductory class. During the next few years I joined Northwest Woodturners in Portland, Oregon, took several classes, and enjoyed making pens, key rings, weedpots, small bowls and boxes. I also haunted the local hardwood lumber dealers and began learning about both domestic and exotic woods.

Early in 2004 I joined with several other woodturners to form the Pacific Northwest Woodturning Guild. In November of 2005, I was one of the first two members to apply for and receive Guild certification. I later became the Secretary and the Webmaster for PNWG until I resigned in January, 2017.

In March of 2007 I moved to Scottsdale, AZ, where I joined the Arizona Woodturners Association. Although my shop space here is fairly small, I have optimized it for turning, and I have taken additional classes to learn new techniques and improve my skills.

The Great Vancouver Ice Storm

Me and my saw and the remains of a 90-foot ice-downed red alder In January 2004 a massive ice storm hit the Vancouver, WA, area. Spurred on by the great number of downed and damaged trees on my property, I purchased my first chain saw and quickly learned how to convert boles to bowl blanks. I could now take a tree from windfall to seasoned blank to finished product. I found that I really enjoyed the entire harvesting process, and over the next several months I scavenged, split, and sealed as much wood as I could find.

Interesting wood is everywhere! Wood is where you find it!

Woodturners are often wood hoarders and I am no exception. When I moved to AZ I brought with me about three tons of sealed-and-boxed Pacific NW hardwoods, including bigleaf maple, red alder, and cascara buckthorn, lovingly selected from the wood I had harvested in WA. And as soon as I arrived in town, I started collecting some of the exotics-to-me local timbers, such as mesquite, olive, citrus, and assorted acacia species. This is why my pieces are a mix of temperate NW and desert SW woods.

The tree at left is an old Utah Juniper, located in the Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas, NV. Unfortunately for my collection, that is a National Conservation Area so I couldn't bring home any of the wood.

About my work

One of the first qualities that people comment on with my pieces is how good they feel in the hand. These are items meant to be touched, picked up, used. The shapes and finishes are chosen to complement the particular block of wood, with its unique color, figure, and features.

Much woodworking starts with uniform boards that are smooth and even in color and figure. Woodturning, in contrast, is the art of transforming the imperfections of wood and revealing their beauty. Knots, burls, crotches, beetle-holes, even decaying or spalted wood are all opportunities for the woodturner to create something of value from what may have originally been, literally, firewood. We use branches, roots, wood so gnarly it can't be split with an axe, and wood so freshly cut (green) that water flies in all directions as the gouge cuts it!

Curly Chilean Mesquite vaseAnd sometimes we are lucky enough to find a piece with such beautiful figure it catches the breath when the oil first touches the wood, like this little curly Chilean Mesquite vase.

Each of the items that I offer on this website is the best that I could create with that particular piece of wood at the time it was made. Over time, as my skills and aesthetic sense continue to grow, that will be reflected in the different pieces. But I do not offer for sale any piece that I am not proud to sign.

I hope you find something here that strikes your fancy.

Lea

Member

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