Monday, March 10, 2008

Studio Visit: Tom Dubois, Wood Turner

On March 3, 2008, Jae and I traveled to the little coastal town of Eliot, Maine, to visit with wood turner Tom Dubois. We've carried Tom's work at Greenjeans almost since the beginning, but I'd never taken pictures at his workshop until last week!

Click here to view the Virtual Studio Visit pictures. We don't have his work on the website yet, but you can come see it at Greenjeans.

Tom is a licensed psychologist by trade, but keeps a workshop for wood turning, which is his passion. He writes, “In shaping wood I imagine that the spirit of the tree is found and released in a new form, and in each piece I try to bring out the inherent character of the color, texture, and figure of the wood. Every vessel is a celebration of the wood from which it is made."

He continues, “There is a timeless beauty and universality in certain vessel forms. My shapes and forms are sometimes influenced by my wife who is a painter, and I am often inspired by the work of artists in other media such as pottery and glass.”

Tom works with different kinds of wood from all over the world, much of which he purchases on Ebay. The hunt for interesting samples, he says, is addictive. But the process of making a piece is long. After shaping the wood into a rough form, or blank, it must be seasoned, or left to breathe and dry, for at least one year.

Then Tom takes it up again and uses lathes and chisels to shape, or turn, the wood. He finishes the wood with various methods, from giving it a good rub of linseed oil and wax, to applying a hard varnish, to leaving it as it is. Some pieces are topped with small aluminum finials, which Tom also fabricates by hand on his metal lathe.

It is always a pleasure to visit with Tom, who shares his home with wife Anne, who is a wonderful painter, and their hilariously playful corgi Morry. We look forward to next time!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Images by Greenjeans. Top to bottom: Tom with an unusual root burl; Tom handling a work-in-progress; new work arranged atop his piano in the house; the view out his workshop window.

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