Dennis Richardson

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:

2 Responses to “Dennis Richardson”

  1. Russ Braun says:

    Terrific story Dennis! I have been a big fan of your turning for a long time. You make some incredible chunk vessels to boot!! For those of you that don’t know Dennis, he’s a hoot to hang out with….I’m afraid there’s no containing him once he gets started; that’s a good thing in my book!!

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