Artist Profile

Don Davis

Don Davis

It pleases me to bring life back to a fallen tree using it to create something new. My early experiences with the woodturning lathe was love/hate. I enjoyed working at the machine but was usually not satisfied with the results. Making functional bowls was uninspiring as the next bowl always looked like the last one. I now find satisfaction turning pieces that retain the natural characteristics of the tree. In addition to beautiful grain patterns I like to include bark, knots and even insect holes found in the wood. Once I have decided on the shape I want to create, my goal is to expose and enhance those natural features. I want the viewer to be reminded that this object was once part of a living tree.

My grandfather was a high school industrial arts (shop) teacher. He had a small woodworking shop attached to his garage in which I spent many hours playing submarine commander. At around age 90 he gave up woodworking and I was the recipient of his tools. But not his talent. I enjoyed learning about the tools and making useful things with them. It was many years later that I discovered the wood turning lathe. Woodworking requires square corners and tight joints. Wood turning allows for much more creative expression, which I enjoy.

After 37 years of hospital administrative work I retired in 2010. Since then I have attended several regional and national symposiums and am currently a member of the American Association of Woodturners and two central Illinois clubs.