In 2012 the artist and his wife were watching a program on PBS that featured two artists. The first was Dale Chihuly and the second was the Moulthrop family from Marietta, Georgia. What intrigued him the most was the fine wood turning of the Mouthrop family. He told his wife that he thought it would be a fun craft to learn and she agreed. This was the beginning of the wood turning adventure.
David immediately began searching the internet for information and found the web site for the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). On this site there was a list of schools. While searching for one that could be easily driven to from their home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a school in Bucks County, PA caught his eye. The instructor, David Ellsworth, had a cancellation in the following weeks class and David was off to Bucks County. Needless to say, he soon learned the significance of who his instructor would be and has cherished learning the skills needed for the wood turning craft from him ever since. The Moulthrop family baited the hook and David Ellsworth set it firmly.
Wood turning is not an inexpensive craft to get yourself set up in. You need a lathe and here the artist’s luck would continue. David Ellsworth was retooling his school with new Robust lathes and was selling his current equipment giving David the opportunity to acquire a beautiful Robust Liberty lathe with all the bells and whistles. It has been serving him well ever since.
Initially turning bowls, it didn’t take long for the influence of David Ellsworth and the Moulthrop’s to take hold and David started turning hollow forms. Hollow forms are by far his favorite work to create. They are a greater challenge to create and you can turn all sorts of interesting and beautiful shapes. Every time David mounts a piece of wood on the lathe he enjoys studying the shape and grain of the raw wood and deciding what will be created. Seeing the wood chips fly off the spinning wood as your creation take shape is a very rewarding experience.
The artist usually gets his wood from local sources. Generally, trees that have been cut for landscaping reasons or have fallen due to storm damage are repurposed. The distant sound of a chain saw is music to his ears. Some of his favorite species are walnut, cherry, ash, maple, beech, oak, and pear to name a few but there are many other species that are beautiful when turned. One of his favorite turners is Liam Flynn who was from Ireland. Liam created beautiful vessels from oak trees which is a species many wood turners frown on. Most of his creations are from green wood which means the finished product will change shape while the wood goes through the drying process after the turning is complete and before the finish is applied.
David is a retired civil engineer and spent a majority of his career operating a small consulting engineering business in the northern Shenandoah Valley. He wanted a new challenge, so he closed his consulting business and became the Director of Facilities for Lord Fairfax Community College from which he retired. He and his wife now live in Williamsburg, Virginia where they enjoy the many opportunities the area offers.