I've been dreaming of bowl turning for weeks. I am watching and observing the beauty and skills from amazing bowl turners on Instagram and I am obsessed. There's something very special for me about bowl turning. Maybe it's my background as a spinner, or perhaps it's my love of aerial dance, the spinning and turning in the air a deep peace. Whatever the case, I felt called to turn.
The opportunity came to take a bowl-turning workshop at my local wood store. I knew it was a risk, diving into something completely unknown but also something I thought I might truly enjoy. After some working of the schedule, I decided to dive in.
And it was amazing.
I arrived early to find that the guys of the wood store had been looking over my shop website. Suddenly, I realized they no longer think of me as some woman who is over-excited about wood tools and such, but as someone who has some talent, is learning and honing skills, and committed to the work. This new experience helped me feel a little more welcome in the turning workshop. I set down my bag, looked over the cherry turning blank, and got ready to turn.
The first part was a lot of talking, going over tools and their use, the art of working with the grain of a piece of wood, and even the different ways that turning can change (using green wood versus dry, end-grain versus side-grain turning, turning bowls versus spindles versus platters). After a while, and a quick cutting of the turning blank into a round figure, the teacher promised to stop talking, and it was time to step to the lathe.
One of the most important lessons I learned during this workshop is the importance of relaxing at the lathe. As a beginner, it might seem natural for me to tense at the lathe, focusing so much on each tool movement, the turning of the wood, the shape appearing before me. But having my shoulders around my ears, a death grip on the tools, is not the way to steady turning. After a few moments, learning the "sweet spot" of the tool and finding my way around the lathe, I could settle into the movement and simply turn.
It was incredible. It felt natural, soothing, bliss. I wanted to explore, create, develop my own ideas. I want to spend hours at the lathe, turning plates and bowls and art galore.
I want my own lathe. Yesterday would be preferable. Tomorrow will do nicely.
I have so many dreams, so many plans in my head for items to create. I've been sketching like mad since I got home from the workshop. Oh, and the bowl I made? It's not half bad.