In March Zina and I were invited to demonstrate as part of the opening of the new Tormek Education Centre at their factory in Lindesberg, Sweden. We met in Stockholm - Zina after a few hours flight from Romania and me legless after more than a day's travel. Stockholm is a wonderful city with an atmosphere of quiet sophistication and we spent a few days settling in. Everyone is invariably pleasant and some of our best time was spent in the coffee shops where locals sit for hours warming themselves and meeting friends.
(Please visit "A New Direction" page to learn more about Terry's collaboration with Zina Burloiu.)
I could get used to this!
Zina always talks about her work being "a game of shadow and light", and as we walked around Stockholm I was taken by the crisp sunlight and the sharp shadows it cast. As Zina and I walked down a set of steps we were clearly outlined below, so I took this photo.
Our game of shadow and light.
From Stockholm my good friend Stig picked us up and drove us to Lindesberg where we were welcomed by Hakan, Karin and other good friends. It was my second visit to Lindesberg and the new centre was very impressive, filled with light from the huge windows. We set up a display of our work and arranged the demonstration space.
Stig (R) and visitors looking at the display of our work.
Zina and I spent the first day demonstrating how we work together, with me making pieces on the lathe and then Zina showing how she carves them. It is every demonstrator's dream to have the best setup they can when they travel and one thing I love about Tormek is that they don't hesitate to buy the best equipment. I was delighted to see they had bought the Vicmarc VL300 lathe I had suggested, the same as I use at home.
Me and Zina – busy, busy. (Photo courtesy of Tormek)
Here Zina and I are explaining the best shapes for carving on. (Photo courtesy of Tormek)
One of the not-so-secret things about demonstrating is that if you have good wood you look like a better turner. Tormek kindly supplied me with some Boxwood so I could show off with great shavings.
I got as much pleasure as the visitors when these shavings flew through the air.
(Photo courtesy of Tormek)
On the second day Zina ran a workshop to a full class of students on how to carve in her unique style. Zina has a wonderful teaching manner, full of confidence and gentle guidance, so the class warmed to her as the day went on.
Everyone got as much attention as they wanted.
"If you look closely here you will see how I divide the lines."
This was the first time I had ever demonstrated where they made champagne available.
Ah Sweden, why didn’t I discover you fifty years ago?
It was a wonderful visit and I only hope we can repeat it soon. Tormek has posted a report on their website:
On April 8th and 9th Zina and I had a pop-up exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass. I lectured there a few years ago and they have one of my Cyclops series in their permanent collection (donated by Bob Bohlen), so it was a familiar return for me.
We arrived on a wet and windy day so the view from the gallery was a little bleak, but inside the staff were very friendly and we settled in with their help.
The bleak view from the gallery window.
The curator for our show, Michael McMillan, was our host and as he showed Zina and me around the collection I was delighted to find my Hokusaicyclops on display next to my friend Mark Lindquist's Chieftan Bowl. As Mark’s pioneering celebration of the natural qualities of wood was a great inspiration to me in my early years, I was delighted to see my piece beside his.
My Hokusaicyclops on display next to Mark Lindquist's Chieftan Bowl.
Zina and I loved setting up our pieces because we had worked on them so far apart over the previous year. Even though I had seen some of the finished pieces in Zina's photos and as we discussed them on webcams, it was wonderful to hold my own work again - but with the fine detail of Zina's carving to raise it all up to another level. I remain in awe of her skill and am ever thankful that we work so well together.
Everyone was so positive about our work. Working with wood is a solitary experience and it is so satisfying to explain the pieces in person.
We both demonstrated in the morning and it was very well attended. I decided to turn a piece of soft basswood - and instantly regretted it. It is so difficult to get a clean finish on it that I resorted to my old trick of cutting grooves to disguise poor finish. Typically, Zina saw something inspiring in the circular grooves. She said they reminded her of the circular patterns that time-lapse photos of the skies at night make – so she carved stars that circle the heavens. It is not often that you can complete a demonstration piece so well, so we decided this was worthy of a name and we called it Night Sky.
We were particularly pleased that our friend Jeffrey Bernstein travelled to see us. He and his wife Judy are wonderful collectors and we have both visited them at different times. Jeff was a perceptive observer during our demonstrations and the later lecture, so imagine our delight when he bought two of our favourite pieces, Galaxie, and Crescendo, one of our Spoonbowl series. We are very proud to be part of their wonderful collection.
We sold several pieces during the day, but a high point for us was that the Fuller decided to acquire two of our pieces for their permanent collection.
Starfall was a milestone piece for us and Riverflow, another of our Spoonbowl series, was different to most of the work in the show because Zina's carving wanders asymmetrically across the piece. These acquisitions are a welcome confirmation of our success as collaborative artists.
(Photo courtesy of Lindquist Studios)
It was a delightful weekend and we owe great thanks to Michael, Jeff and all the other people who enjoyed our offerings. As we were packing up on the second day, through the window I saw the weather had changed and the ducks were celebrating the coming Spring. It was a time for us all to feel good.
After our weekend at the Fuller Craft Museum, we flew to Wilmington, N. Carolina, to visit my good friends Jean and Peg. They are my American sisters and have always made me feel like I am at home with them.
Every time I visit them I am astounded by the beauty of their home. The view outside is a constantly changing landscape of water, land, trees, clouds and birds.
Jean loaned us a car to use. It is a pristine 1997 Lincoln Continental that used to belong to her mother. People would stop to admire it and say "great wheels man!" Driving on the highway was like an American fantasy – leather seats, throbbing V8 engine, floating on a soft cloud made of massive metal.
Zina and I spent a day demonstrating for the Wilmington Area Woodturners Association (WAWA), a great club with so many generous members.
Zina explaining her carving technique.
We followed that with classes at a local community college for WAWA members, where I taught basic turning technique.
"Keep that handle down!"
Zina gave another hands-on class in chip carving.
"Here I keep the edge at this angle. Why? Because……"
Back at Jean’s workshop I indulged myself in making some shavings fly – always fun.
While we were in Wilmington our piece Spheres of Influence was exhibited at the annual AAW symposium in Kansas City. It is good to think of these pieces telling our story to so many people. This piece is precious to us as it marked the beginning of so many creative adventures.
Spheres of Influence
This piece was about how our creative process seems effortless, even though we are on opposite sides of the world, but the time in Wilmington was priceless because we were able to instantly react to each other's ideas. This became so obvious with one project we worked on. Zina and I discussed a small set of three vessels that explored different variations on the same simple shape. The unknown wood was given to us by Mark Lindquist and so we felt it would be appropriate to celebrate the natural qualities and faults that it had. When I finished the first one we were sitting on the deck, handing it back and forth and talking about what Zina might do. Then Zina looked up and said, "Look at the clouds!" A huge line of black clouds rolled towards us as a storm front formed. It was an awe-inspiring display and I said, "Why don’t we do something to represent this?" Holding the piece, Zina said, "Yes, look how this side looks different to the other side. This looks like clouds and this looks like rain." "Yes", I replied. "It's a storm front, so why don’t you carve a line like the cold front on weather maps?" So that is just what she did. We called the piece Stormfront. Zina is still working on the other two pieces and we will call them our Weather Series. It feels so good to make things that reflect exactly what we experience and it shows just how well our minds fit.
Jean and Peg both fell in love with chip carving and Zina loved teaching them. There were always lots of smiles.
I also took the time to carve. People tend to pigeonhole me as a turner and forget that often I spend more time carving than turning. This piece is still a work in progress.
Making the most of Jean’s equipment.
Every day with Jean and Peg is a gift.
Another perfect evening.
Stay tuned.... more from Terry's recent travels will be posted soon!