Well, now that I have my template set up, I guess it’s time to start writing.
I created this blog primarily to document the International Turning Exchange in Philadelphia (ITE) this summer, but since I’ve gone through the trouble to set it up, I’m going to use it also as a place to record thoughts about my work in general as a maker of turned wood art vessels.
I guess I’ll start at the obvious beginning point: who I am—namely, an erstwhile-writer-cum-editor-turned-professional-woodturner.
After many years of writing and editing and designing and laying out books, in October 2002, I was working as document production manager at an archaeological firm in Tucson. As such, I was responsible for editing and producing the firm’s technical reports and books and other materials. I liked the work, but the company was poorly managed, and I had been working there under unrelenting deadline pressure for seven long years. I had lobbied hard to change how things were done, but nothing had improved. By this point, I was angry all the time. My soul was screaming, and I had to make a change or die. I asked myself what I would rather do, and the answer that came to me was “turn wood.”
Now, I had never turned wood before. I loved wood and had collected a few fine vessels (thank you, Bob Rice!), but I had never turned—indeed, I’d never even seen a vessel turned. But I knew what a lathe was and the basic principle of turning, and I had a feeling.
I gave notice and left my job November 1. I couldn’t get into a woodturning class for two more months, but I got registered and I was ready. On January 10, 2003, I stood at a lathe for the first time and turned my first bowl, and I knew I’d found my calling.
I’ve been doing it full-time ever since.
The turning is a joy. The marketing is a challenge. I’m still learning how to make a living at this new career, and I’ll no doubt be writing about that challenge here. But I’m alive again. And from my hands now comes beauty.