woodturning

Allied Arts will host an exhibition by local woodturners Harold Lawrence and Aubrey Nelson this weekend through Nov. 2 at the Marlor House.

Woodturning, which is the action of shaping wood with the use of a lathe, uses various types of gouges and other tools to carve wood into its desired form.

Lawrence has had other exhibitions in the past, including one at Georgia Military College in March 2016, and most recently in Cartersville, Ga., with other notable woodturners.

“I enjoy rescuing something destined for the fire. It does me good to do that. Reclaiming wood is more my motive than creating art,” Lawrence said. “I use trees that are fallen or already in lumber form. I don’t go out and saw down trees. I’d rather have something that is going to be disposed of.”

Lawrence will have an estimated 70 pieces on display, most of which will be available for purchase, while Nelson will have approximately 40. Viewers can expect to see bowls, vases, and Christmas ornaments made from walnut, silverleaf maple, mulberry, willow, cedar, holly and oak. All of the wood are species native to Georgia.

“I think the fascination with this craft is it’s a never-ending learning experience. There is always some dimension you can improve upon, always some tip you can get from someone else on how to do something better,” Lawrence said. “It’s only limited by your imagination.”

Lawrence said he has been turning for about 10 years, and through this hobby, he has met many other woodturners throughout the world. He said even the professionals are eager to share their knowledge and experience. It is this aspect of woodturning that led to a friendship between him and fellow turner, Aubrey Nelson.

“We’ve swapped ideas and visited each others’ shops. He’s a great turner,” Lawrence said.

Nelson was approached by Lawrence to share in the Allied Arts display.

“This came about completely as a result of the association with my friend Harold Lawrence, who I met this year,” Nelson said. “He already had a show in the works and approached me about whether I’d be interested in doing it with him.”

Nelson said he has been in other art shows, including one at the art department of Georgia College in 1989.

“I’ve been doing this since about 1987. I worked for an architectural mill company and had people looking for replacements on spindles,” Nelson said. “A lot of them are unique, and the only way to get them nowadays is for them to be custom made.”

It is through spindle turning that Nelson entered other aspects of woodturning, including bowls. He still does a lot of spindle work, however, and said that when people need a custom piece, they get in touch.

All of the wood Nelson uses is also native to Georgia. He said the state is fortunate to have so many interesting species of wood.

“All of the wood is native to Georgia. The hurricane that came through here a couple of years ago was a real windfall,” Nelson said. “As a result, I got an overwhelming supply of the stuff.”

Nelson said that when creating bowls, he prefers to use green wood. He leaves the walls thick, and then after drying for the next few years, he will put a piece back on the lathe to finish it.

“The wood itself tells me what sort of shape it wants to be,” he said.

Lawrence echoed that sentiment.

“The goal in what we do is to let the element of the product or blank piece speak to us instead of trying to impose our will upon it. Wood continues to move even after a finish is put on it. We try to minimize cracks and warpage, but wood is a still pliable thing even after a piece is made,” Lawrence said.

The exhibition,“Woodturning,” will be on display at the Allied Arts Marlor House, 201 N. Wayne St., Milledgeville. An artists’ reception will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 14 with a gallery talk at 2 p.m. in which Lawrence and Nelson will share some of their processes and inspirations. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information call Allied Arts at 478-452-3950.

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