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The Turning Gallery

January 22, 2014

Cabinets in gallery

I finally did it.  I built a gallery to show off my turnings with good light and space.  For years, when people came to my shop to look at my work, I pulled out my boxes of bowls and started spreading them out.  “Here, hold this while I pull out some more bowls.”   It really got to be too inconvenient as I have hosted several bus tours this fall and had many dozens of guests with no good place for them to browse or see my work at its best

So this winter, I took part of a storage room in the back of the shop, a high ceiling-ed, 10 foot by 14 foot space with a nice window Gallery into messy shopand the potential at least for keeping the dust at bay.

I sheet-rocked and “mudded,” painted and wired and planned how to make a number of cabinets to store my travelling salvation show- the boxes, lights, and display items that I take to art shows.

Heron graphics on cabinets

Graphics of Herons in honor of my daughter Johanna from Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland. Also, a bold graphic of St. Olaf from Stikelstad in Norway.

On a 6 week trip to the British Isles and Norway last summer, I was on the hunt for strong graphics that I could use in my work, so I used some of them on my cabinet doors.  In Norway,

Norwegian Cabinet Cut-outs

Norwegian Cabinet Cut-outs

there is a strong tradition on their folk architecture to cut designs into their “stave” or board work, in contrast to their logs.  In my system, I take the tongue and groove boards for my cabinet covers, draw on the designs, and then cut them on my scroll saw, most often folding the boards to cut the same design on two boards at the same time.  When I unfold the boards, I have a symmetrical cut-out that often mimics turning shapes.

Gallery south wall

I used aspen logged and milled from the Smoky Hills north of Perham.  It has beautiful figure that I have often used to advantage. On my cabinet doors I preferred to pick out clear aspen so the graphics would stand out better.

I have moved my “birdpeck tree” to the gallery to show off my work.  This sculptural tree has often been part of my display at the Hostfest and gallery showings.  It is constructed of birdpeck elm.  That means it came from a tree fed upon by the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker for many years.  The sapsucker is almost like a woodpecker as it bores through the bark into the tree, but the sapsucker loves the sap.  The tree hates when the bird exposes its insides to the elements so it heals over the wound, but the next year, the sapsucker goes right back into the same holes, and so it goes year after year.  The decades-long process created huge ridges around the tree where the tree had defended itself.  I cut the tree in such a way that I could lay out those boards to show off the wild colors and grain of those “battle sites” and also create an interesting set of shelves.

This is a pair of copper panels that I traded with the classy “Unique Bead” women from Velva and Minot.  They have Copper panels close upused chemicals and torches to create colorful patterns on the copper that I have framed in a black ash assembly with an oriental flare.

The gallery will be open by appointment, so give me a call at 218-346-3860 to set up a visit to the gallery.


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  1. Congratulations Phil! Elegance in design and delightfully functional. I like the incorporation of cultural symbols in your design. Well done sir!

  2. D Edwards permalink

    Looks and sounds great!! I haven’t gotten to your bowl yet, this year has been really crazy busy, but one of these days when I get to work on my Nordic Fest entry I will do it, I am planning on that in March probably.

    Fun to read about the traditions!

    Will you be having any classes this year? Still want to get Dale up there to do that when you can work them in.

    Thanks for sending! Diane

    Diane Edwards MA, PSCM

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