Malcolm Tibbetts

Malcolm Tibbetts

Hi all, here is my short story…  After a long career in ski area management at Heavenly Ski Resort, I transitioned to a semi-successful second career as a full-time segmented woodturning artist.  But it didn’t happen overnight.  It actually started about 66 years ago in my granddad’s woodshop in northern New Hampshire; I was fortunate to live only about 1000 feet away from his basement full of woodworking tools.  After many years as an amateur furniture maker I purchased my first lathe in the early 90’s and because of my experiences in wood construction, I quickly gravitated to segmenting.  I’m lucky to have lived through my first year at the lathe; with no knowledge of how to approach a fast spinning piece of wood I was pretty clueless.  I actually turned for about a year in complete isolation without the benefit of ever seeing another woodturner in action (pre YouTube).  After figuring out some basic fundamentals, I discovered the AAW and attended their symposium in 1994.  Seeing experts for the first time make chips fly was a real eye opener.  At that event, I was also lucky to meet Ray Allen, a very accomplished segmenter and we remained friends until his passing.  In the mid 90’s, a gallery owner (The Stones Gallery) in San Francisco contracted me for my work and I sold segmented woodturnings there for many years.  I currently exclusively sell my work through the Marcus Ashley Galley in South Lake Tahoe.  From the beginning, I did everything I could to get my name known.  I wrote magazine articles, entered competitions, and accepted many invitations to do club demos.  I also started teaching at various woodworking schools and demonstrated at national symposiums.  It paid off with an invitation from a book publisher and I wrote, “The Art of Segmented Woodturning” in 2002 and at the urging of my wife, I’ve self-produced eight 2-hour instructional DVDs.  I still do a few workshops and every year I teach a 5-day course at the Marc Adams School.  I served two terms on the board of the AAW and was instrumental in the formation of our AAW chapter.  My work has evolved over the years, from southwest Native American shapes and designs, to “porthole” feature rings, ribbons created from turned bowl components including mobius shapes, to bowl from a board vessels, endless tubes, turned polyhedra shapes, and to unique shapes such as “orderly tangles.”  Recently, I’ve started to explore the use of stabilized and dyed wood.  I’ve said it many times, as segmenters, “The Possibilities are Endless.”  Since my first segmented turning in the early 90’s, because of a willingness to share, our art form has constantly evolved.  No one keeps secrets and we all benefit.

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