I was born in Tofield, Alberta, and gained my first taste for woodworking at our School Industrial Arts Shop. We were actually bused about 14 miles to another school in the county, where the shop was located. Industrial Arts was available to Junior High students, starting in grade seven or eight. One of my first projects was a walnut platter made of glued strips. I don’t think our shop had any walnut that was thicker than 4/4ths, so to get some depth to the bowl, the solution was to glue up strips. Unknown to myself, my mom saved all my bowls, from shop, and I found them when cleaning out my parents house, when they passed away.
Counter to the Canadian Prairie tradition of people leaving Saskatchewan to work in Alberta, I moved from Alberta to live in Saskatchewan. What the love of a woman, won’t make a young man do. My wife Jennifer and I spent six months living in Belgium studying French in 1976, where I gained a deeper appreciation of craftsmanship. After language study in Belgium, Jennifer and I spent just over three years working in Burkina Faso, West Africa, at that time known as Upper Volta. I gained a new appreciation of the craftsmanship of West African carvers. Most worked with the very basic tools, carving ebony, and ivory tusk.
Shortly after returning to Canada in 1980, my father in law retired from dairying. He wanted a hobby, and wanted to buy a wood lathe. Having helped him pick out variable speed Delta lathe and some tools, I now had something to do when I went to family gatherings. This kept my interest in turning active, and when my father in law’s health deteriorated, family asked if I wanted the lathe.
I especially enjoy creating bowls out of local trees that are being taken down. My family, all receive bowls and pens, etc at various gift giving occasions. My daughter, and son have both moved out of the family home, so now I can find all sorts of projects to turn for them.
Both Jennifer and I enjoy the crafts, she with quilting and sewing. Our house reflects our interest, with lots of quilts and turned objects throughout. I am approaching semi-retirement and hope to have more time to spend in the shop, when that occurs.