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Revolutions in art

Hernando Today Correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: August 16, 2013 at 04:46 PM

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Art forms are created by the endless imagination of artists.

Where some sculptors use a hammer and chisel to carve and bring life to their art pieces, woodturners use modern machinery, such as a lathe, to carve out their amazing and beautiful wooden works of art, from jewelry boxes, bowls, vases, and goblets, to pepper mills, pens and a host of many more specialty creations.

Woodturning is a form of woodworking, where pieces of wood, called blanks, are placed into a wood lathe, which spins the wood rapidly.

The lathe operator can then use various tools to carve out and remove material from the spinning wood.

Many woodturners choose wood pieces that are not perfect. They look for pieces that have natural defects from either wormholes or are from parts of the tree that have been damaged in the past while the tree was still living, known as burl wood.

The burls are actually scars on the tree. But when burl is turned on a lathe, it reveals artistic and beautiful wood grain patterns, giving the finished wooden art piece great character.

With the newly created club, the Historic Brooksville Woodturners, Brooksville is now home to its own group of talented woodturners.

"I decided to start the club in order to tap into and learn from other like-minded individuals in the community," Historic Brooksville Woodturners founder and president James Lee said.

"Woodturning presents many challenges in skill, and I believe that in order to progress as a woodturner, you must learn from others and practice.

"Another reason was that the two closest woodturning clubs are an hour's drive north or south, putting Brooksville right smack in the middle. This makes it a lot more convenient after a long day's work. This club was long overdue."

Lee first started woodturning about three years ago after many years of intrigue and admiration.

"Woodturning has been something I have wanted to do since I started waterfowl hunting at the age of 12," Lee said.

"I was always intrigued with the duck calls used to call the ducks into the decoys, which are made on a lathe."

But intrigue turned to passion for art after seeing people's reaction to his completed wooden art pieces.

"Woodturning to me is a true passion that connects me to my creative side, and there is nothing more rewarding than when someone else connects to the piece as well," Lee said.

"Additionally, I never have a plan for the shape I'm turning, so the end product is truly a one-of-a-kind piece of art that comes to life from the energy and focus I put into it. It truly is a spiritual experience for me," said Lee.

Creating art can be a huge stress relief and can be very therapeutic for one's soul.

"Whether I'm turning a game call or hollow form vessel, it takes my full focus and submersion into it," Lee said.

"I absolutely love the disconnect from stress."

The Historic Brooksville Woodturners club meetings take place on the first Thursday of each month, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and meetings starting promptly at 7 p.m.

Meetings are held in the GFWC Brooksville Women's Club building, 131 S. Main St., in Brooksville.

The club plans to offer discounts to online and local woodworking supply houses for its members.

"Most importantly though, is the opportunity to learn and make friends. The camaraderie that comes along with these clubs is second to none," said Lee.

"We will have monthly demonstrators for club members and hope to schedule some all-day workshops soon. We will also have a booth at the Blueberry Festival, and I hope to organize a members' art show for the community showing off pieces that our members have made," said Lee.

To find out more about the Historic Brooksville Woodturners, call James Lee at (352) 397-8340 or visit

Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at

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