I grew up in a large family on a dairy farm in upstate New York. I learned about different kinds of wood and their qualities from my father while cutting firewood each year.
My education brought me to Michigan in the 60's to complete a doctorate at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. As retirement approached, I started to collect some cherry burls in anticipation of trying my hand at turning. Upon retiring in 1999, I started my turning career, buying my first lathe and going to some wood-turning workshops. On summer days I enjoy looking for hardwood burls or spalted maple to turn into bowls. 'Spalting' is a naturally occurring phenomenon created usually when a log begins to rot while lying on the ground. It is created when fungus invades the wet wood, and is recognizable by beautiful black patterns contained within the background of the wood's natural color.
I take the wood I find and cut it into a blank that is fastened to a lathe, I "rough in" these green blanks into one inch-thick 'shells' giving me a basic idea of what I can do with the piece. I then cover the piece in wax to reduce cracking as it dries. Six to twelve months later, I put the dry shells back on the lathe to turn them one more time and then sand them smooth. Finishing is done by adding a food-safe walnut oil to each turned piece.