Well, its the end of August and Summer will be quickly fading to Fall. With Fall, in the great Northwest, comes rain and long periods of time spent indoors. As woodturners, our hobby keeps us indoors most of the year – except to occasionally forage for wood, we seldom see the light of day.
But now is the time, dare I say, to step away from your lathe and get outdoors. Take the rest of August and go enjoy the sunshine, experience all that nature has to offer. Or should I say observe all that nature has to offer. Just because we have come out of our shops and into the light of day doesn’t mean we should stop being woodturners. We should always be on the lookout for inspiration for our work.
Woodturning is a very visual endeavor, shape and proportion are critical to producing a visually pleasing piece of work. With long hours spent holed up in our shops, many may find that their work has become repetitious and uninspired. Outside, the careful and even the casual observer will be able to see endless examples of forms and shapes that are blended to perfection by nature and hopefully be inspired by them.
This inspiration can be had for free as well, no need to buy the latest DVD or book. Just get outside- go walking in a park, go hiking on the many trails in our area, visit the sea shore, rivers, lakes, go downtown, even your own backyard, all have inspiration to offer if you only look. The curve of a lower stem and its leaves, the shape of a weather worn rock or a piece of drift wood, the shape of the trail ahead of you or the curve of a tree branch are a few examples.
Digital cameras make capturing inspiration easy as well. Take one along with you and take lots of pictures of anything that catches your eye. The pictures can be retrieved later during the winter when your creative battery may be in need of recharge. Take a sketch pad if you don’t have a camera. If you are like me and can’t draw, a camera is definitely a good investment.
All too soon it well be Fall and the rain will be back, so get out now and enjoy Summer. Your lathe will still be there waiting for you when you come back to it in September. And who knows perhaps you will have finally found the inspiration you need to turn that prized piece of wood you’ve been saving for all those years.
See you on the 21st, and remember be safe, make chips and have fun!
-Pat McCart, SPSW President