Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by machines and how things work. When I was 7 years old, I removed the music boxes from my stuffed animals to see how they worked and reassembled them.

Computers and digital logic captured my imagination as a teenager. The idea of a computer as a universal machine that I could program to solve problems intrigued me. I spent the next 25 years writing computer software for various applications.

In 2002, a good friend gave me an old Delta Milwaukee lathe. It languished in my shop until the winter of 2004 when I finally started to teach myself how to turn wood. I turned 26 tops for Christmas presents that year. The following spring, a neighbor cut down a large maple tree that was riddled with ants and gave me the wood for turning. It was my first experience turning green wood into bowl blanks, and I soon filled my shop with shavings!

I was hooked. There are so many aspects of turning that I enjoy. I love the pure sensual experience of ribbons of green shavings piling on my arms and around my feet while I shape a bowl, and the sweet or pungent smell of green wood, depending on the species. It is very meditative to watch a smooth flowing curve emerge from under the sharp edge of the gouge as I translate an idea in my head into a physical object.

Wood turning allows me to express my creativity without words in a way that is immediately accessible to others. I enjoy watching another person pick up a piece that I’ve created and simply appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy my creations.

David Belser