July 2016 Demo
“Back To Basics”
Larry Roberts has been a woodturner for 61 years. He first started in high school when he took interest in the lathe during
shop class. His teacher trained him in the “English/Conventional” method in which the turner would adhere to strict rules and would mostly consist of turnings for furniture and the like.
His brother invited him to a weekend gathering of few woodturners, including Clay Foster and David Ellsworth, who
were exploring the unheard of method of freeform and artistic turning. These artisans were happy to pass on the
radical new techniques, designs, vessel shapes and types. This lead to these turners being taught to think of the craft in
in different ways, “freeing their minds”.
Larry enthusiastically adopted this new method of woodturning. He now rarely uses kiln dried woods. He
prefers to use found woods. He likes to salvage wood from fireplace piles, disposal yards, arborists, roadside piles and
development sites; anywhere wood is being discarded. He takes joy in transforming found wood into a vessel displaying
the unusual grain patterns that are hidden inside. Frequently a discarded, ugly chunk of wood will be beautiful inside.
“One never knows what lies inside a piece of wood”. He enjoys taking these cast away, unwanted, useless wood and
giving it new life. He says this process gives him tranquility, reflection, self-satisfaction and joy. He only hopes that the
new piece holds something special for the new owner. Larry says that he is often asked; “what do you put in it?”.
His response is; “I have put a lot of love into it, you can put into it whatever you want”.