Skip to main content

Not a rose by any name

No long stories today. Just a small leftover piece of maple burl turned into a flower form and mounted on a slender pedestal. This is one of the things I like most about turning.

For the better part of my life, I have been involved in huge projects requiring hundreds or even thousands of feet of lumber and stacks of sheet goods. Projects lasting months or years in which a small piece of wood like this would be tossed aside as unusable. But now, that little piece with the wild figure can become, in a few hours, something unto itself, an object that might bring beauty into someone's life.

It's a whole new concept for me. When I first began to work at the lathe, I struggled a bit with the smallness of the pieces I was making. Compared to my paneled libraries and over the top kitchens and family room entertainment centers, they seemed inconsequential. But now they become, for a few hours, the focus of all my attention as I try to create a unique shape or a tiny, crisp detail. For a brief moment my whole being is concentrated on this small, unique bit of wood and I get the funniest feeling that I am responsible for making sure that it is not lost, that it becomes something worthy of the forces of nature needed to create it.

My success or failure in this, I leave to others to decide. For the moment, being still a "Padawan learner,” I am happy to have not totally screwed it up!


Related Articles