LaymarCrafts Woodturning Books


Turning Wood into Art is the Catalogue that accompanied the Exhibition of the Jane & Arthur Mason Collection at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, North Carolina and with some 208 pages it is "Some Catalogue"

The Preface by Jane Mason and the article entitled "The First Year" by Arthur Mason gives the reader a brief insight into the reasons for there collection and the loan of the pieces in the Exhibition.

Suzanne Ramljak and Michael Monroe contribute essays giving the reader both a background to Woodturning as an Art Form and the History behind the Mason's Collection and the Turners represented.

The Collection at the Mint Museum comprises of 123 Works by forty-three different Artists all of which are seen within the Catalogue as well as a Check list of all the Exhibits and Biographies of the Artists, some of the Names here you will be familiar with others are not so well known.

On initially exploring this Book many of the pieces looked familiar and I felt sure that they were already part of another Book of Woodturning, a quick flick through my Library produced a Book previously Reviewed on these pages, Expressions in Wood, which is again a Catalogue, for The Wornick Collection Exhibition that was  held at the Oakland Museum in California.

The reason for the familiarity between the two Collections is simply that the two have examples of work from the same Artists, for example the Wornick Collection has a piece by Todd Hoyer "Untitled Vessel 1990" and the Mason Collection also has a piece by the same Turner with the same title, and the difference other than size is the burnt Cross goes a different way. Other examples of "Similar" but not exactly the same include pieces by William Hunter, Ron Fleming, Michelle Holzaphel and many more.

This Book offers the reader Inspiration and a great deal of "How do they do that", some of the techniques are  obvious but other pieces are full of queries and questions as how the Form and Shape are achieved.

As a Collection of Quality Pictures of Wood Art, in my opinion, there is none better and this book should be an inspiration for any Woodturner to expand his or her horizons as to what is achievable.

Turning Wood into Art, The Jane & Arthur Mason Collection.
Published by Harry N. Abrams Inc. in association with the The Mint Museum of Craft + Design
ISBN 0-8109-4483-9 (Hardback)  0-8109-2704-7 (Paperback)

There is a Web Site for the Jane & Arthur Mason Collection at the Mint Museum, Click on the thumbnail to visit >>>

New Perspectives in a Rich Tradition is the sub-title for this Book and that would be the case if the all too familiar Pieces from the well published list of Woodturners that are represented here, there are new angles but unless you are a Book Collector then there is very little that's new.

The front cover picture is from one of the many similar designs already in the Collections of the Masons and Wornicks and as a result I now have 4 (2 in this book of the same piece) pictures of this "Vessel".

However if you do not generally go for this type of Book then of the three it is the more economical and therefore a good introduction to what is being labeled contemporary Wood Art.

The first section of Contemporary Turned Wood is titled "A History of the Contemporary Wood Studio Movement", ah! perhaps that's where I'm going wrong I still do my Turning in a Workshop, which is in fact a short Biography for the Turners, sorry Artists, covered here.

For the second chapter we get the grand title of " The Purist Aesthetic" translated I took this to mean a well turned Bowl, Pot or Vessel as that is what you get 15 pages of quality pictures of quality pieces by the likes of Bert Marsh, Ray Key, and John Jordan to name but three.

Moving on we have "The Vessel Transformed", everything is now a "Vessel" regardless of what it actually is, and here we have Pots, Vases, Plates, Bowls and yes even some Vessels all decorated by either Painting, Burning, Carving or adding bits too. Again familiar names appear Ron Fleming, Michelle Holzapfel, Hans Weissflog and Melvyn Firmiger.

Chapter four and we have "The Constructed Vessel" which for once is a self explanatory title being a section of 19 of the best in Segmented, Glued & Epoxied, and Jointed works from the likes of Mike Shuler, Phillip Moulthrop and Ray Allen to mention a few.

The penultimate chapter is "Woodturning as Sculpture" contains work from Mark Linquist and Dennis Elliot which is pure Sculpture but pieces by some of the Artists were more at home in chapters two, three and four.

"Small Treasures" finishes of the Book and here we have various pieces that are generally only a couple of inches or so high or round often from Turners that you would not associate with such small items.

I was not too disappointed with this Book as it will find a useful place in my library and for those who do not generally buy "Picture Books" this would be a good introduction to the more interesting aspect of Woodturning, Quality Gallery type Pieces.

Contemporary Turned Wood by Leier, Peters & Wallace
Published in USA by Hand Books Press and in the UK by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd.
ISBN 1-86108-186-3

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Last update 16 July 2007
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