Turning Wood Exhibition

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
October 13, 2015

Hearts and pretzels, woodturning

Turning Wood Exhibition

Hearts and pretzels, woodturning

Hearts and pretzels, turned wood, John Flynn

Demonstrations will take place indoors and possibly outdoors depending on the weather, beginning on both days with MA South Shore Woodturners at 11am, Central NE Woodturners at 1pm, and Association of Revolutionary Turners at 3pm.

This fall, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University presents Turning Wood: The Art of the Woodturner, a unique art exhibition and demonstration event. Woodturning—the art or process of fashioning wood into various forms and shapes by means of a lathe—has a engaged and fascinated humans for thousands of years, originating in Egypt around 1300 BC. As an institution focused on trees and their intrinsic value, the Arboretum has partnered with three area associations to jointly celebrate the skill and artistry of Massachusetts craftsmen in creating beautiful and useful objects from turned wood.

This special event has three parts, all held in or around the Arboretum’s Hunnewell Visitor Center: an opening reception on October 23 from 5-7pm, a weekend of live woodturning demonstrations on October 24-25, and an exhibition of select works from October 9 to November 8. On Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25, members from the Association of Revolutionary Turners (ART), Central New England Woodturners, and Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners will demonstrate their mastery of lathes from 11am to 5pm.

Each craftsman will bring his or her own personal artistic vision to the objects they create, and their pieces in maple, cherry, and other wood from far and near—including some derived from felled Arboretum trees—will offer a unique look at the inherent qualities of the trees utilized. The Arnold Arboretum proudly supports local artists who draw their inspiration from our landscape and world-renowned collection of plants. With this event, the institution further celebrates that connections between the Arboretum landscape, horticulture, and the community.

“Trees are examined for indicators of tension, strain, bark inclusions, and branch crotches, as each influences how the wood will respond on the lathe and change while drying, and affect how the grain pattern will complement the finished piece,” said Joe McGill of Central New England Woodturners. “Some woods emit a pleasant aroma while being turned while other woods offer remarkable grain and color. All of these factors contribute to the close association woodturning has with the living tree. Trees not only offer remarkable beauty as they grow and change through the seasons—they also allow us to develop an intimate understanding and appreciation for the beauty of wood.”

Families and art lovers are encouraged to take part in this unique art exhibition and two-day demonstration event—all component activities are free and open to the public of all ages.

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