After spending over 25 years in Hollywood,
filming television commercials, I began experimenting with a lathe I had
inherited. Before I even mastered the technique, I could
see that I wanted to find a way to give the pieces a little more life. A bowl, or a vase, or a sculpture sits on a shelf and has a form, and
there’s a certain beauty in that, but I wanted to add movement and energy to that
I have always
lived near the ocean, and was inspired to bring the motion and rhythm of the waves to a round
object. The exploration of that concept led to the “wavy” design which is still the core element of
my work today.
I started by
placing the design on bowls, because that’s kind of the obvious thing to make on a lathe, but
as I developed new techniques I found that I could remove the restriction of the vessel and
let the design stand alone as a sculptural form.
By working with round forms I found this
opportunity to create designs that have no beginning or end. Even as they sit still, you can imagine the design wrapping around the
piece and coming back into view, giving rhythm to the design. By moving the
shapes around on the piece I found the energy that hopefully gives a feeling of movement to an
otherwise static form.
I live in Pacific Palisades, CA with my wife Candy,
and two wonderful daughters, Lauren and Rachel. When I’m not in the studio, I enjoy Golf, Paddle
Tennis, Skiing, Cycling, Kayaking, Hiking and Bocce.
Demo titles and descriptions
In this action
packed demo John will show two different ways to make his signature wave vessels. For the
first piece, John will take a block of wood, cut it apart, add a contrasting wood to create
the wave and show you how to put it back together keeping the grain aligned. With a bandsaw,
a few clamps and basic turning tools, this is a project you will be able to go home and do
The second piece will be a protruding wave bowl from a rough
turned bowl. For this piece John will use his custom jig to cut a turned bowl into pieces. He will
then modify the elements and put it all back together. This piece has a higher skill level but
there are many tricks that may help you with some of your own designs.
While the design of
the wave is the feature of this presentation, there are many additional tricks you will
learn. John will show you safe ways to cut a round bowl on a bandsaw with almost any angle,
and put it back together keeping the walls and grain aligned perfectly. You will learn how to
bend wood in a microwave oven, which is interesting and has many fun applications. You will
learn how to precisely turn a bowl smaller keeping the proportions exact. Most importantly,
John hopes you will be able to use these ideas and tips to change and improve your own
challenge in cutting a turned vase into pieces is getting the cut perfectly in the centre of
the vase. John will show you different ways to cut a turned vase apart accurately and safely.
Getting the pieces back together can sometimes be a bigger challenge. In this demo John will
show how to take a turned and finished vase, cut it apart, add protruding elements and
reassemble the whole thing so the grain and walls remain aligned. He will also show how
create and add the elements that protrude beyond the walls of the
There are infinite
design possibilities with this project, and the techniques shown here have helped many
turners solve some of their own design problems. The idea of cutting apart a turned and
finished piece is somewhat unique and, hopefully these concepts will help you develop your
own turning voice.
In this demo John will share from his experience as a professional photographer
and motion picture cameraman. The first half of the demo will talk
about camera basics and the set-up. John will take questions and make sure you have the right equipment to take
the best pictures of your turnings. The second half of the demo is where the fun really
starts. John will actually create a
set-up and move the lights around to show you the best way to maximize your set-up and get
really great photos of your work.
The "Dots" bangle or vessel is conceptually quite simple, yet one of the most
difficult projects to get perfect. In this demo John will take you through the basic steps and then show you
different ways to improve your accuracy so the dots end up the same size. These techniques can work on a bangle or bowl, but without them you will
have a difficult time making a balanced piece.