I've always enjoyed art and the beauty of simple things found in nature that we see every day. All of nature is art if we look deep enough and express ordinary things in a different way than we are used to seeing it. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I started making things from wood, and then experimented in painting and different mediums through school. During this time I had an avid interest in the evolution of humans through time and the functional items they created and used.
I began turning wood in my mid-twenties and shortly after had to give it up because life got too busy. When I sold my lathe I promised myself that one day I would buy a bigger lathe and return to the hobby I once loved. Now that I'm retired, that day has come. Now I spend many hours watching nature’s hidden beauty come out in the grain of various types of wood.
My creations reflect the designs of whatever culture and period I may be interested in at the moment, creating many different types of wooden vessels that used to be hand-made from other materials in order to hold liquids and staples. The bowls and vessels are portrayed as art that blends the shapes of old pottery with the beauty of finished wood. After studying the woods natural color, makeup and grain pattern, I usually start with a basic design in mind. However, during the turning process I often alter the style of the piece in order to showcase a particular area of interest the wood reveals.
I hope you enjoy the exposed beauty of what is too often thrown away to decay as much as I do. It’s great when a gallery wants to display my work and a bonus when folks want to purchase pieces for a special gift or personal enjoyment. Enjoy knowing that this gift to mankind was not ground into mulch!
"A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. Always believe in yourself" –Unknown
With over 25 years experience as a Graphic Designer/Print Media Specialist, I put my career on hold to become a full time caregiver for my Mom. And, although being there for Mom is very rewarding, I quickly missed growing my marketing and design skills.
In April, 2014, I set up an Etsy Shop to showcase Bob's Yarn Bowls; thinking how much fun it would be to turn my retired husbands hobby into a little business. Things moved quickly as we sold over five hundred bowls in just over three years on Etsy.
When Etsy launched a new "craft supplies" category in Oct. 2016, our sales ground to a trickle with an influx of thousands of cheaply made, low cost, manufactured yarn bowls flooding search on the site, described as "hand-crafted". While we still sell yarn bowls to many discerning Etsy buyers, we added secure shopping to this site in Oct. 2017 offering Bob's finest bowls, tips on how they're made, free shipping (US) and options for International ordering.
While Bob creates on the lathe, I'm the Content Manger for Heckathorn Turned Wood on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter as well as Photographer, Graphic Designer, Shipper and Quality Control Manger. This long time yarn enthusiast is committed to providing the best customer service possible while making new yarn friends the world over.
"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours..."
"I prefer not to do several bowls of the same design at once. Life should be simple, not production work... whatever comes into my head is what I do. That's what makes the work fun."
It’s pleasing to watch the wood progress through slow and careful sanding to a beautiful finish at the end. Because of my interest in studying indigenous cultures from the Aztecs through Native Americans much of my work draws inspiration from their pottery.
My wood comes from some lucky finds that otherwise would have been turned into mulch, ended up in a landfill or otherwise lost forever. After working with many kinds of wood, some varieties become favorites to turn because of their character, finished beauty and appeal to those viewing it. Certain species influence the style of bowl that I create in order to show the particular grain pattern or flow of color in the wood.
Finding the wood is a challenge. Salvaging green turning stock from the local area increases the artist’s knowledge. However, it's usually a back breaking process. It’s exciting to find a choice piece of cedar, pecan or other favorite hard woods I'm always on the hunt for.
This is achieved by careful shaping with sharp tools then patiently hand sanding and finishing up to ten times –a lengthy process.
A final coat of museum grade wax is applied to resist fingerprints and stains.