Hermann de Vries- Woodturner


Woodturning is a labour of love for me. For many years I worked with wood as an amateur furniture maker, making many of the pieces in our home.  Woodturning was something I always wanted to try, and in 1995 I acquired my first lathe.

Immediately, I was hooked.

The executive world is full of pressure, time-lines and stress.  People are demanding and sometimes difficult to please.  I found peace and contentment feeling the smooth cut of the chisel through the wood, and satisfaction in making the shavings fly. 

At first, I never considered this an art.  As time went on, the wood itself began to "speak" to me, and soon every piece of firewood was a fresh opportunity.

It came full circle when I went to the lonely spot where my parents homesteaded and where I was born.  I saw the old maple trees that my father an mother had planted in the early 1920's, and saw that some of them were dying.  Taking the wood from that dying tree and turning it into a piece of turned art became a way of preserving something that represented to my father and mother, in their youth, the future.  I am their future, and the trees was their future.  If I am able to leave behind a legacy, it seemed only fair that the tree should be able to do the same.  i only helped a little.

I try to think that the work I do is what I am.  If there is beauty in the piece, then that day there was beauty in me.  If the piece turns out ugly- well-it was probably a "bad hair" day for me, too.

What motivates me the most is to see a piece of wood and recognize within it a possibility, a potential, for a piece of art.  I am also motivated by the work of others, and the beautiful forms and shapes I see around me in the world- an apple, an onion, a bell, a Grecian urn, a woman. 

I wish I did not have to sell pieces.  Each one is a part of me, and I would sooner give them away.  Bt, although my raw material grows on trees, it is not usually free, and the equipment and accessories are not free.  i wold not need to be paid to do this.  The real payment is when I know that someone, somewhere, may be looking at, or even better, holding one of my pieces and it is bringing them a moment of pleasure.