My father was a carpenter, but he kiddingly (must repeat kiddingly) said if I ever wanted to picked up a hammer & saw for a career, he would cut my fingers off. He enjoyed having me in his shop, where I developed a fondness for the feel, smell and grains of various wood species and his collection of tools. I was to go to college however, something my dad was not able to do in the 1930s in Montana. I finished college at USC and retired 4 years ago after a 39-year career as a Commercial Real Estate Broker, 32 of which were with Cushman & Wakefield in West Los Angeles.
Fast forward from my playing in my dad’s shop to 2009 when my wife, 3 sons & I visited a museum (don’t recall where) that had a Ray Allen segmented vase. It was approximately 2 feet tall and containing thousands of pieces. I was in awe, having no idea how such a beautiful art piece was created from wood. At that moment I made a mental note to research this wood art medium when I returned home.
My youngest of 3 sons was about to graduated High School and my years spent on bleachers watching sports, i.e. little league, flag football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and lacrosse was about to end. Number 3 son was soon off to college and at the age of 56 I needed a hobby, a pastime. Having seen the Ray Allen’s vase I looked to the internet on how one might make a segmented vase. I found and called American Association of Woodturners, upon which I was informed there were 2 Woodturning Guilds in the Los Angeles area. I was given contact information for the El Camino Woodworking Group (“ECWG”) and took advantage of an invite to their monthly meeting.
Seeing various ECWG creations during my first visit I knew I found an artistic medium that had great appeal to me. However, I felt that I needed to learn how to turn wood first before attempting segmenting and bought my first Laguna 18/42 lathe after my 2nd club visit. After several years of woodturning, I decided that since it was segmented woodturning that prompted my initial interest……… I should give it try. As ECWG’s librarian, I had access to both Ray Allen’s, Curt Theobald’s and Malcolm Tibbetts’ books, coupled with several of Malcom’s videos. I was loaded for Bear…..and the time was “now”!
That said, if I was going to attempt segmented woodturning, who better to learn from directly than Malcolm Tibbetts. He was to teach Segmented Woodturning at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and I took Malcolm’s eye-opening class the summer of 2016. I cannot recommend it enough, both Malcolm’s class and the Marc Adam’s school, an amazing place for wood workers!
The below are some of my segmented creations: