Yorktown’s Art at the River is truly a family-friendly event. This year, Tidewater Turners of Virginia, a club made up of 100+ woodturners in southeast Virginia, will have some really cool live educational demonstrations. People of all ages can watch as they make a variety of objects including spinning tops that younger visitors get to take home as souvenirs.
Woodturning is a fascinating process to witness as the turner takes a raw piece of wood (usually a big hunk of a discarded log) and transforms it into something spectacular. Each item is truly one of a kind.
“There is something immensely satisfying when we take a chunk of wood from a fallen tree, from a firewood pile, or found along the street and turn it into something beautifully artistic or functional. We call it ‘beauty beneath the bark.’ Even simple pieces of wood are beautiful when turned and finished,” shared Ray Kallman, Chairman of the Tidewater Turners Board of Directors & Public Demonstration Coordinator.
On May 5, at the Yorktown waterfront, you can learn about their tools like the trusty lathe as well as their masterful techniques as they expertly slice away at the wood. You’ll be able to ask questions along the way. In fact, they encourage it!
As a reference, there are three types of turners:
𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐬 make objects like salad bowls, pens, and candle sticks.
𝐀𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐓𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐬 make objects of art such as vessels, wall hangings, and pieces of art.
𝐀𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐬 make objects used in buildings such as porch columns, balusters, and decorative facade pieces.
The Tidewater Turners are one of 12 woodturning clubs in Virginia. Members are from as far west as Richmond, as far north as the Eastern Shore, and as far south as Edenton, NC. What’s really cool is that all ages are represented in this club—from teenagers all the way up to age 95.
It’s actually not uncommon for turners to learn the art as teenagers in their high school shop classes and then leave the craft behind as they start careers and families. Luckily, many come back to it as they near retirement.
So what exactly do woodturners make? Pieces can be as small and simple as spinning tops or bangle bracelets or as large as vessels and vases (often with ornate finial tops).
Be sure to come out on Sunday May 5 to watch the live demonstrations and to check out several hundred pieces for sale ranging in price from $5 to $100 including bangle bracelets, miniature birdhouse Christmas ornaments and bowls!