The process of designing forms and seeing them come alive on the lathe challenges and inspires woodworker Bob Anderson.
“I challenge myself to convert a slab of wood into a functional, beautiful object,” says Bob, who has worked with wood for 35 years.
Bob crafts functional bowls, pots, lidded boxes, platters and pepper, salt and spice mills, as well as sculptural pieces when the muse ignites his whimsical side.
“I envision my functional pieces as objects that will be a joy to use and handle in daily life, while also being of a quality worthy to be passed down as heirlooms,” he says.
His work is a many-stepped process that takes as much as a year or more to complete, as he values the wood’s characteristics and labors to preserve its color and figure.
Much of the raw material he uses is harvested from downed trees he finds near his Boone County home.
“While some may think of Indiana as a vast, flat cornfield, there are in fact many forests with a diversity of native species,” Bob says. “I feel the Hoosier tradition of simplicity and functionality remains a worthy touchstone in these rapidly changing times.”
He draws designs so he has an image in mind before making the first cut with a chainsaw, and then he rough-turns the blanks on a lathe to near final form while they’re still wet. At this point, the wood and his eye replace the design on paper and guide the process to completion.
“I then slowly air-dry the forms for a year or more,” Bob explains. “Slow air-drying preserves the color and figure of the wood. I return the dried form to the lathe to create the final piece,” and then he hand carves enhancements to give his work a distinct, signature look.
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