The Enchanted WoodTrurners of Santa Fe NM

Alan Becker

Is woodturning an art?  If you want it to be! Am I a craftsman? I think so. But mostly I call myself a woodturner. Woodturning has developed into a passion for me. The synergy of the woodturning process really is what woodturners are striving for. For us, the sense of the tactile feel we get while holding the tool against the spinning wood is spiritual. Ribbons of wood fly all over.

There is a shape being created under the tool, guided by some inner understanding flowing through my hand. Each pass reveals more about the wood and the design that is all but hidden in the log. The connection with the wood and the design is mesmerizing and spiritual. As we become focused on the process, the trick is to get out of the way, rather than force our will on our work, or regretting the selection of the piece of wood. If you can achieve this, then you can feel the creativity that is being offered by this natural beauty.

I have always had a keen interest in woodworking and have been actively consumed by woodturning for the past 21 years.  There is a unique excitement about working with wood, the magnificent coloring, sensual texture and wonderful shapes that each piece possesses.  It is all there naturally in each piece as it comes from the tree just waiting for someone to explore. Woodturning allows me to explore each piece individually and try and present the natural beauty in a pleasing form. Each piece is different and unique and the challenge is to uncover this beauty with careful study and tender attention. I have been fortunate to spend some time and study with David Ellsworth, Trent Bosch and J. Paul Fennel and their styles and influence are reflected in my works.

Each turned wood vessel is completely hand-made, from the rough cutting of the wood, the drying process, the shaping and hollowing, and the sanding and finishing. The shaping is done with hand-held tools. My goal is to create curves and shapes which are pleasing to touch as well as pleasant to see. No shape duplicators are used at any time in the process – each piece is unique. “I get great enjoyment from bringing out the natural beauty of each piece of wood that was hidden under the bark”. Each piece shows beauty and meaning, from the skill of the artist, to the different kinds of wood and the forms that express this balance.

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