The Lincoln Arts Council held its second woodturning competition in June, and though the majority of the art associated with Lincoln County is steeped in pottery, it is clear that woodturning is quickly becoming a new favorite medium.
Woodturning – the Known and the Unknown, an exhibit that is running in the Lincoln Cultural Center until July 31, showcases pieces of art made entirely out of wood, created by artists from Lincoln and surrounding counties. The Arts Council sponsored a competition for the exhibit, allowing entrants to submit three pieces each. By the cutoff of June 25, the contest drew 19 entrants and over 50 pieces submitted for judging. First place prize for the competition was $500, but what drew the varied artists was a love for woodturning.
“It brought in people from different counties and really a different group of individuals as opposed to traditional painters,” said Shelly Johnston of the Arts Council in Lincolnton. “It was really nice to bring in a different type of art.”
Woodturning is a form of woodworking in which a lathe is used to create different wooden objects. Different shapes and forms are created by moving or turning the wood against the stationary tool, cutting and shaping the wood to the desired design. The end result can be a beautiful and plain bowl or an intricately carved lamp.
According to Johnston, the majority of wood turners have traditionally been retirees, older artists with the time to dedicate to the craft. But the recent competition showed the field becoming younger, with several pieces being submitted by people in their 30’s and 40’s. Sources for the wood vary as greatly as those opting for hardware stores while others harvest their own wood. With pieces that look like marble sculptures, hand-carved mosaic vases and musical instruments, the time and effort placed into the art of wood turning is nothing short of amazing.
The exhibit is open until July 31 by appointment only. Due to the nature of the pieces, attendants are asked to refrain from touching the exhibits. While some pieces have price tags, the majority of the pieces are listed as not for sale, and with all the time and effort that goes into one piece, it isn’t a wonder that the artist wouldn’t want to part with them.
Harold Lineberger, an artist from Claremont, entered three pieces into the competition, including a scale replica NFL football that he modeled after a Christmas present that he gave away.
“You never know what’s inside the wood. You just throw it up there and start cutting,” Lineberger said.
His honorable mention Scallops took several months just to shape properly.
“It started off as a square piece of wood,” he said. “You glue it, let it dry, turn it 90 degrees, glue it, let it dry, turn it 45 degrees. I wasn’t really sure what it was going to look like.“
The process to create the piece took several weeks. Another piece that he entered into the competition took nine months.
What draws Lineberger and many to woodturning is truly the unknown aspect of the art.
“You never know what you’re going to get,” he said. “You have some kind of idea of what you hope it’s going to look like, but you never know. We call it design opportunities. You just never know what you’re going to get.”
For more information on the Arts Council or the woodturning exhibit, please contact Shelly Johnston at 704-732-9044 or visit www.ArtsLincolnNC.org
Contest Placement and displayed exhibits
1st: Place Robert B. Lacy, Eggplant Vase
2nd: Gary Ritchie, Cherry Mosaic
3rd: Tim Rinehart Natural Edge, Frenzy
Honorable Mention: William McInnis, Emerging Flower II
Honorable Mention: Bob Hodges, Windswept
Honorable Mention: Tom Denne, Navajo Design
Honorable Mention: Harold Lineberger, Scallops
Honorable Mention: Michael McNeilly, Maple Platter
Honorable Mention: Jerry Ostrander, Reaching