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I’ve never felt the pull toward wood turning. In general, most woodworkers tend to fit into either the “flat” or “round” category. I guess I’m a flat woodworker. Yes, I know how to turn … basically. I can knock out a simple spindle or handle for a tool. But woodworkers who turn have a different mind-set, and a different love for the wood. While I don’t completely understand it, I can certainly appreciate it.

That’s why a recent press release from the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum caught my eye. On exhibit now through January 30th is A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection. Beyond the clever turn of a phrase, the exhibit is a celebration of 66 pieces of turned and carved wood given to the museum by Fleur and Charles Bresler.
From the Renwick’s web site:

“Masterpieces by the field’s pioneers, including David Ellsworth, William
Hunter, Mark and Melvin Lindquist, Edward Moulthrop, and Rude Osolnik,
demonstrate the extraordinary range of expression achievable on the
lathe, the medium’s foundational tool. Compelling recent works by Ron
Fleming, Michelle Holzapfel, Hugh McKay, Norm Sartorius, Mark Sfirri,
and many others reveal the advent of new techniques, including
multi-axis turning, the incorporation of secondary materials, and a
strong focus on carving.”

Many of the pieces are on exhibit for the first time, and while I could comment on the quality and beauty of the pieces, I’ll let the pieces speak for themselves. If you can’t make the trip, visit the Smithsonian’s web site to view images of each of the pieces in the show. If you like what you see, the pieces have also been collected into a book about the exhibition.

— David Thiel

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Showing 3 comments
  • Charles

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t give credit in your review of the exhibit A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection for the lovely turned vase by Mike Shuler that is shown in the ad from Popular Woodworking Magazine editor’s blog. You show the picture of his great work but don’t give him any credit.


  • Matt

    Being at the opening of the exhibition earlier this year was a real treat. The artists work is breath taking. If you are in DC you should swing by and take a look. The book is also noteworthy as was the panel discussion that accompanied the opening.

  • Bill

    Not bad for a pine cone. You flat guys are missing out on all the fun!

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