Hey everyone! It's time to get to know Norm of Wood Art For Living.
Please give us a brief bio, where you are from, who you are.
I'm a retired mathematician, physicist, computer scientist and engineer. I studied mathematics and physics in college and graduate school, initially believing, as Einstein and Dirac did, that there was an inherent beauty in the representation of nature through mathematics. But, after only a few months of employment in an engineering company as a solid state physicist I came to realize that I was more interested in creating useful things than in developing esoteric theories. My subsequent study of computer science and over three dozen years of employment as an aerospace engineer proved me right as I developed computer models, electronic devices, and ultimately complex real-time control systems.
I am a New Yorker at heart (and by birth), though I've lived in Maryland for more than half of my adult life. I have an intense desire to learn and love to immerse myself in new - and old - fields of study until I understand them. I've just spent a few months catching up on the developments in quantum theory and mathematics that have occurred since my first college studies.
How did you get started in woodturning?
My interest in wood as a medium was rekindled four years ago when I created a special gift for my older granddaughter. During the creation of that small piece, I rediscovered wood's beauty and utility, and starting creating other wooden objects: cutting boards and knife handles.
But it was with a newly-acquired lathe three years ago that my creativity really took off. I started small (the first lathe wouldn't allow anything else), and was soon making candlesticks and handles for ice cream scoops and pizza cutters. It was thrilling to see that I could create works of art that were also functional objects. I fell in love with the process of "unpacking" a piece of wood to reveal its beauty and character, and started turning bowls and clocks and other useful objects.
And two larger lathes later, I'm still loving it.
I've always had a creative side, and believe that there should be creativity in everything we do. In my early teens I taught myself nature photography, striving to create pictures of flowers and insects that were simultaneously precise representations and beautiful images. I also love model building, creating detailed miniature representations of interesting functional objects: ships, cars, and railroad trains. My photographs decorate several rooms in our home, and so do the models!
What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
I love the process of taking a simple wood blank and creating something beautiful and useful from it, and I particularly like the idea that someone else will be able to use that item to add the beauty of nature to their everyday lives. And, since I keep finding ever more beautiful pieces of wood, and I'm driven by an innate urge to continually develop new forms, I don't think I'll ever lack motivation!
If the wood is interesting, anything more than a simple, flowing shape interferes with the presentation of its natural beauty. I only add decoration to the extent that it's needed to bring out the wood's aesthetic qualities. I love discovering new forms for traditional objects as long as they don't interfere with the piece's functionality.
Intense. Creative. Intuitive. Exacting. Curious
Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.
Not much has!!