My first experience of woodturning was at the age of 13 when my dad brought home a used lathe. The only turning tools we had were scrapers made from old files. Living in the country with my father’s auto body shop next to the house all three of his boys learned to work with their hands at a very early age. I never dreamed that some of these skills would lead to a second career.
After getting a master’s degree in education and working in the public education field for thirty years it was time to look for a retirement hobby. With fond memories of the turning as a youth, I took a class at John C. Campbell Folk School and was hooked all over again. My how things had changed in 40 years in the area of woodturing! I joined my local turning club (Carolina Mountain Woodturners), AAW and was provided a lot of experience and education. Taking many workshops from other professional woodtruners helped me to develop the skills to proceed with the learning process. The technical part of turning came very easily for me. Line and form was a struggle to learn. With help from many people, my skills consistently became better. In 2002 I was fortunate to be able to start my teaching career all over again in the area of woodturing. This is the best of both worlds.
I have been very fortunate to be able to travel across the United States sharing my skills through demonstrations and hands-on classes. I am always impressed with what a wonderful group of people that I find in the woodturning family. No matter where I go and how often I teach I am still picking up little tips that help me. My personal goal is to help others enjoy turning as much as I do by helping them better their skills and the sharing of different techniques for turning.
Joe Teaches at the Arrowmont School of Arts, John C Campbell Folk Art School. He has displayed his wares at National Woodturners Symposiums and worked with the youth program for the American Association of Woodturners for the past six years. His "Craft Corner" Performances have been featured on local television shows. He has now opened a classroom area in his own studio. Classes are avialable for private and semiprivate sessions.
Joe is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, past president and Board Member of Carolina Mountain Woodturners and member of American Association of Woodwturners.
- To maintain the highest quality standards for our products.
- To provide the best customer service possible.
- To promote an outstanding educational experience.
- To help others gain an appreciation of the art of woodturning.
I consider myself more of a craftsman than an artist. I enjoy figuring how to do things in ways that are reasonably easy and safely done. These methods should have an end product that is pleasing to the eye with flawless craftsmanship. Some may even call it art. My primary goal in turning is to be able to teach others how to have the tool control and skills to make what their mind can envision with a workmanship quality that does not distract from the design of the piece.
With thirty years of working in the field of education I find it very rewarding to be able to teach woodturing to others in an atmosphere that is very encouraging and enjoyable. It is exciting for me to help people expand their abilities of working with their hands to complete a project and be able to say, “I made it myself!” That makes doing demonstrations for clubs and teaching hands-on classes very rewarding.
Demonstrating for clubs and other groups allows me to share my love of woodturning in a way that can inspire others to learn the art and craft of turning. It can give practical suggestions for overcoming common problems that all turners face. Often demonstrations open the doors for exploration and show techniques to make ideas become a reality.