Fun in the studio

I had fun in the studio today. I resumed turning postsurgery three weeks ago, but I have spent only a few days here and there during those weeks actually turning, including two days of open studio. Today was the first really full day I’ve had working in the studio and the first day I really felt my mojo back. I had been feeling tentative and clumsy. Today, I picked up a large chunk of spalted wild cherry that someone had brought me during the studio tour. He had had it since 1990 (!), and I found it to be cracked throughout and utterly dry and very punky. What came off the gouge was mostly dust, with a few dry shavings. (My studio now looks like it’s coated in brick dust.) I decided, what the hell! It felt like a perfect opportunity to play, with nothing at stake and always the possibility of a bowl.

I tried to cut past the cracks, but discovered that they went all the way through. The wood was so punky and funky that I decided to go for an elegant shape, leaving the walls thick for integrity, and let the texture be what it would, in contrast to the shape. I sanded with 60-grit sandpaper just to reduce the unavoidable tearout and then sandblasted the bowl inside and out. It ended up with a wonderful weathered-sandstone appearance. I applied a single but generous coating of Danish oil to bring out the rich cherry/sandstone color. I love the result, though I know it’s not for everyone. What do you think? (The photos are just snapshots, so please forgive the color variation. The second photo is most representative of the actual color—at least on my computer.)

Visit my studio

Once again, the artists of Tucson—including me—will open their studio doors to visitors for the Tucson Artists’ Open Studio Tour. This time around, instead of just cleaning up and setting out work, I’ll be working at the lathe throughout the weekend, so if you have ever wanted to see me turn, come on by. I’ll be here 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17. For a complete list of the artists participating and maps to their studios, pick up the April issue of Zócalo Tucson magazine or visit the Tucson Open Studios web site.

Flux Gallery presents “Spotlight on the Artists”

Next month, Flux Gallery will be rehung to create a “Spotlight on the Artists,” with a reception Friday, April 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. Come by between April 8 and 30, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., to see new and selected work by Carol Ann, Lee Roy Beach, Peter Eisner, Katherine Minott, Shirley Wagner, and me. This will be one of only two events I will be participating in this spring, so I hope to see you there!

Flux Gallery presents "Spotlight on the Artists," April 8 to 30, with a reception Friday, April 8, 5 to 8 p.m.

Create: The Mysterious Art of Wood

Stem, by Lynne Yamaguchi

"Stem," by Lynne Yamaguchi: maple burl bowl on a painted cherry pedestal

For those of you on the East Coast (specifically North Carolina), later this month several pieces of my work will be part of an exhibition called Create: The Mysterious Art of Wood, “an exhibit about the patterns and figures, the colors and textures, and the form, proportion, and spirit that all converge in each wood creation to tell a unique story.” The exhibition will run from March 25 to April 20 at Cape Fear Studios in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It will feature regional, national, and international artists, including Stuart Mortimer, Jacques Vesery, Ron Kent, Howard Schroeder, and me, of course, and will include turned objects, carved objects, boxes, furniture, even jewelry.

If you’re in the area, please check it out. The opening reception will be held Thursday, March 25th, from 6 to 9 p.m.

YouTube surprise

Look what my sister found on YouTube:! Apparently, someone I’ve never heard of, a California artist named Brandon Teris, found my “Imagine a World without Art” essay and made a video of it. It’s fascinating for me to see someone else’s interpretation of my words. (You can read my original essay here on my blog).

Cupids, Cookies, and Champagne

Cupids, Cookies, and Champagne

UPDATE: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to participate in this show, because I have the flu. I hope you all will still check it out though!

For my next show I’ll be trying something different: a small one-day show hosted by Patricia Mooney and Sara Spanjers at the interior design firm Designlines, at 2080 N Craycroft Road (between Grant and Pima). I will be one of fourteen local artists showing work at the “Cupids, Cookies, and Champagne” art show on Saturday, February 12, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (I will be outside, in the north-side parking lot.)

Come start the Valentine’s Day weekend with some gourmet cookies, champagne, and a private showing of art. There will also be a raffle with prizes including a one-hour design consultation, a Designlines accessory, and original artwork by Sara Spanjers, along with other contributions.

Contact Patricia Mooney of Designlines Interior Design Studio, at 885-9577, or artist Sara Spanjers, at 731-1620, for further information.

Flux hosts two benefits

Flux Gallery is hosting two benefits in January 2011. The first, on Friday, January 21, will benefit the Primavera Foundation. The second, on Saturday, January 22, will benefit the Ben’s Bells Project. Featured at both will be the art of Peter Eisner, Carol Ann, Katherine Minott, Lee Roy Beach, Maurice Sevigny, and Shirley Wagner, as well as, of course, my work, with 30 percent of sales of the artwork going to the organizations.

The mission of the Primavera Foundation is to provide pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization. It addresses the systemic causes of homelessness by providing a continuum of services designed to move people out of poverty and into a self-sustaining life. These services include: street-level outreach, drop-in services, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent affordable housing, workforce development, financial education, homeownership opportunities, and neighborhood revitalization.

Join us at Flux on Friday, January 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. to support this important and necessary organization. Add beauty to your home and help someone else find a home at the same time.

Flux Gallery presents an evening of art to benefit the Primavera Foundation, Friday, January 21, 2011.

The Ben’s Bells Project, begun by Ben’s family to commemorate Ben’s sudden death at age two, has as its mission is “to inspire, educate and motivate each other to realize the impact of intentional kindness and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby changing our world.”

Ben’s Bells are beautiful ceramic wind chimes, crafted and assembled by hand by people all over Tucson and beyond. By the time a Ben’s Bell is assembled, at least ten people have worked on it, making it a true community effort. Ben’s Bells are not for sale. Twice a year, hundreds of Ben’s Bells are hung randomly in public places around Tucson and beyond, with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness. The only way to get a Ben’s Bell is to find one or to be “Belled.” To date, more than 17,510 Ben’s Bells have been released.

The point? To remind people how much power they have each day to make the world a better place simply by being kind.

Help support this organization by joining us at Flux on Saturday, January 22, from 5 to 8 p.m., for “Connecting through Kindness: An Evening of Art.” Learn more about Ben’s Bells and how to get involved at their web site,

Flux Gallery presents "Connecting through Kindness," an evening of art to benefit the Ben's Bells Project, Saturday, January 22, 2011.

Flux Gallery is located at Plaza Palomino in Tucson, at the southeast corner of Swan and Fort Lowell Roads, in Suite 136, across from Dark Star Leather and next to Abstrax Salon and Day Spa. Its normal business hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Winter small-works show at Flux

Small-works show at Flux Gallery, December 10 and 11

Flux Gallery will feature small works for sale on Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with Grey Dog Trading Company’s annual winter Zuni fetish show. (Grey Dog is just a few doors away from Flux at Plaza Palomino.) Customers who present a same-day receipt from Grey Dog will receive a 10% discount on the small works at Flux, or Flux customers can present a same-day receipt from Flux at Grey Dog to receive a 10% discount on their fetishes.

In addition to the small works by member artists Carol Ann, Lee Roy Beach, Peter Eisner, Maurice Sevigny, Shirley Wagner, and me, we will also have work by incoming Flux member Katherine Minott, a photographer with a love of color and texture. Katherine won’t officially be joining Flux until January, but this show will give visitors a preview of what is to come.

Join us next weekend at Plaza Palomino, and give your loved ones the gift of beauty this season. For further information, please contact Flux (520-299-5983) or Grey Dog (520-881-6888) directly.

Tuesday, July 3

It was a fairly quiet day at the shop after our big day yesterday.

Jean-François turned another oak bowl with some interesting coloring: a base of red dye augmented with acrylic and other elements, and black over that with vinegar, then wax.

Jean-François's new oak bowl.

He also started turning bowls of ailanthus that he will use to cast a cement bowl. I can’t wait to see how this goes.

Sean continued work on his Cryptomeria bowl. After painting and dying the textured exterior, he further hollowed and carved the interior, then sanded it.

Sean's Cryptomeria bowl.Another view of Sean's Cryptomeria bowl.

Sean sands the interior of his Cryptomeria bowl.

Siegfried worked on a large project on which he would like all of us to collaborate, involving turned wave forms combined into a larger wave. Here, he plays with some of the forms before planning his next move.

Siegfried plays with turned wave forms.

He later consulted with Peter about the project.

Peter discusses the wave piece with Siegfried.

Peter went about making a frame for a wall piece using some of his used concrete forms. In the course of using the table saw, he found the shop’s push stick inadequate, so he made his own in the style of his alma mater, RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

Peter's superior push stick.

I got off to a slow start, because I was sore from hauling logs. I warmed up by helping Jane inventory lumber, then finished the pear bowl I started yesterday. I hadn’t intended to leave the bark on, but it didn’t come off during turning as I expected, and I like it, so for now it stays. I’ll see what happens as the bowl dries before doing the carving I had planned. (I also included the pith near the foot and am waiting to see if it cracks open during drying.)

The magic of masking tape.

My natural-edge pear bowl.The photo above illustrates the magic of masking tape. I have the bowl reversed on a domed block with a foam pad in between. I used the tailstock to position the bowl and kept it in place to turn as much of the foot as possible. But to remove the interior of the foot, I had to move the tailstock. The masking tape miraculously holds if you tape the piece well and make only light cuts. If you try this at home, be prepared to react quickly if anything starts to move. And don’t blame me if you choose to take the risk and you get a catch.

A visit with the Rhoas

We finally connected with Peter on Sunday. He had difficulty getting into the dorm when he arrived Saturday evening, but all has been resolved now, and he is settling into the shop as well.

Sunday evening after a fairly quiet day in the shop, we all headed out to Collegeville, PA, to visit Greg and Regina Rhoa. There, we were treated to a feast for the eyes as well as the lips. They have proportionally less wood art than in other collections we have seen, because they have so much art of other media (glass, ceramics, metal, mixed media, paintings, prints), and some of their wood art is furniture. It is all beautifully displayed, with pieces of whatever media complementing each other wonderfully. My photos fail to capture the whole ambiance (my lens wasn’t wide enough), so I have elected to focus instead on some of the largest groupings of wood in their home. Remember as you look at the photos below: you may think you are looking at all wood, but the pieces you see may in fact be ceramic or glass. I very much enjoyed the mix of media.

In the Rhoas' sunroom.

In one of the Rhoas' bedrooms.

More in that bedroom.

Still more in that bedroom.

In the Rhoas' master bathroom.

Dinner with the Rhoas. Jean-François took this photo.

After savoring their collection, they treated us to a delicious home-cooked Puerto Rican dinner. Greg, apparently, is a gourmet chef, and Regina, a gourmet baker. Notice the Mark Sfirri pieces on the table.