About Zen Wood Studio

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What is it that drives someone to spend almost all of their time turning wood into bowls, platters, sculptures, and other fanciful things? More than likely there are as many reasons for this behavior as there are wood turners. The motivation for this behavior leaves us all looking inward to see if we can find the driver. I'm not sure if I am capable of looking deep enough to resurface with an answer that adequately explains the motivation behind my turning. However, there are several answers that seem applicable from time-to-time.

For many turners, money is the answer. The one-of-a-kind products produced by turners are appealing to a large segment of the population, and they are willing to pay enough for those products to support a full-time turner. In my case, the income from my turning is important, but not the main driver.

For some turners, praise from friends, relatives, or the public serves as motivation. The praise is important, but many turners will turn regardless of whether they get any positive feedback or not. For them, it is probably the joy of doing, of sinking into a world where there is no time or thought. Spinning wood, flying chips, and a sharp tool are the sum of their reality, and mine, most of the time while turning.

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For other turners it is the competition. My bowl is bigger, taller, deeper, smoother, or prettier than your bowl. Humans like to compete. Competition spurs us on to bigger and better-if Joe Woodturner can do it, so can I. But I'm going to go one-up and do it better, do something to further distinguish my work or, at least, produce the best product that I'm capable of creating.

These drivers are important and all of them help focus one's internal sense of beauty. This elusive characteristic is defined by both the turner and the public each time a piece is bought and sold. No one deliberately buys something that they believe is ugly. So, regardless of your definition of beauty, we all get the message of what is beautiful and what is not in our world of turned products.

For me, all of these factors contribute to the motivation for turning, and all are summarized by one simple reflex, a smile. When I finish a piece and stop a minute to look it over, if it causes me to smile, the goal is half achieved. If the turning causes someone else to smile, the reward is nearly complete. If someone plunks down their hard-earned money for the piece, all smiles get even wider.

Please take a look at how Zen Wood Studio began.