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  • Writer's pictureAIC

Fascinating, frustrating and humbling.

Located in Atkinson, New Hampshire, a small town close to the Massachusetts border, Willow Vale Woodturning is truly a one man operation. From the tree selection to the final finishing, Al Lanseigne does it all! "As a child I watched my father build our home, a process that sparked my lifelong interest in wood working. Over the years I have been involved with it in many different capacities, however, during the past decade my focus has been predominately on woodturning."

Woodturning is the craft of using a wood tool called a lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. Like the potter's wheel, the wood lathe is a simple mechanism which can generate a variety of forms. "Creating one of a kind pieces; experimenting with finishes, shapes, wood varieties, densities and wood textures has been fascinating, frustrating, and most of all humbling." This creative process offers the artist an opportunity to work with their hands, find pleasure in problem-solving, and enjoy the tactile and visual qualities of wood.

Many of the pieces he produces comes from local trees, predominately maple, willow, ash, beech, birch, red oak and white oak, that have fallen in storms or from other natural events. This aspect of Willow Vale Woodworking is very important to Al, "All trees used have fallen either from age or weather, or in some cases have been cut down by town road crews or by land developers. Willow Vale Woodturning has never, and will never, cut down a tree with the sole intention of creating bowls." Willow Vale Woodturning is invested in recycling fallen trees into uniquely functional and decorative pieces, thus giving the tree a second life. The quality and craftsmanship in each turned item that comes from the shop allows the tree yet another opportunity to provide pleasure and purpose.

"Wood is a beautiful, natural material. Like a fingerprint or a snowflake there are no two trees alike, ensuring that every turned piece is totally individual in its grain and coloring." Below is one of Al's favorite pieces of work. Its a large spalted maple bowl. Spalting is a form of wood coloration caused by fungi. Quite often you can find spalted wood but its extremely rare seeing as much as what's in this bowl.

This is Al's first year at Arts In Common, so stop by his booth and give him a warm welcome. Then stay to learn more about his unique, quality, crafted items or his many trips to Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands!

To see more featured products from Willow Vale Woodturning visit here.

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