A knotted piece of driftwood might become a decorative bowl. A hunk of walnut might be modeled into a tree-shaped platter. Wood-burned birch may become a checkered pot. With a simple piece of machinery, their hands, and a lot of ingenuity, a group of local craftsman are able to shape wood into masterful pieces of art.
A collection of meticulously crafted wooden art — the handiwork of members of the Kenai Peninsula Woodturners — will be on display beginning Thursday night at the Kenai Fine Arts Center. The show, which will run to the end of the month, features a variety of objects made with a lathe, which is similar to a potter’s wheel, and can be used to carve and shape wood. The show is the first hosted by the Fine Arts Center featuring works by the woodturners, who meet once a month on the second Saturday at the Three Guys, No Wood workshop on Sterling Highway near Soldotna.
During the gatherings, members of the group give live demonstrations of their techniques using a variety of equipment in an impressively professional environment, Marion Nelson, vice president of the board for the Kenai Fine Arts Center, said.
Rigged with mirrors and microphones, the meeting’s demonstrations are almost like a cooking show, Nelson said.
“They’re quite an amazing group,” she said.
Sterling Rasmussen, president of the Kenai Peninsula Woodturners, will be featuring about 50 pieces of his work— some for sale, some just for show — during the month-long event.
Some of his favorite pieces are simply decorative, like a painted snowman complete with a pipe, hat and carrot nose. Other pieces are more conceptual, like a burned-wood piece carved in the shape of a basket.
“I love wood turning and I have a passion for it, and I love sharing it with other people,” Rasmussen said.
The opening night showing will also feature a live woodturning demonstration. Rasmussen will bring a mini lathe to the event so visitors can watch the woodturners create their art from scratch.
Nelson said attendees should look forward to gaining a better understanding of the effort that woodturners put into every piece.
“They’re very good at explaining the steps,” Nelson said.