Matt Tommey / Vine Baskets by Matt TommeyMatt Tommey is an Appalachian basketmaker in Asheville, North Carolina. Matt's baskets are a whimsical collaboration of traditional Appalachian forms...
Beneath The Bark
Media: Wood"I look long and hard to find an extraordinary piece of wood with fantastic figure to create your piece of art."
Beneath The Bark When I was in high school in 1962, I turned two bowls on a wood lathe in shop class. Since then I have always wanted to turn more bowls. In 2003 I bought a Powermatic 3520a wood lathe and a 17-inch Grizzly band saw and started turning wood. I spent many hours studying and learning the art of woodturning. My first pieces were small bowls. Then I worked on larger bowls and hollow forms (vases). My experience collecting antique glassware has helped me develop pleasing shapes and forms. I enjoy using gentle curves and traditional shapes in my work so that the fantastic figure in the grain of the wood is featured. I study the piece of wood thoroughly before deciding how to mount it on my lathe to obtain the best grain in the right places on the art form. I am intrigued with the beauty of the wood grain “Beneath The Bark”. As I gained experience, I found I could often determine the structure of the grain by studying the shape and texture of the log. I like highly figured wood grain in my works of art. I also often include bark in the surface of the piece to add to its uniqueness. Highly figured grain can be found in such places as burls, crotches, and places a tree has been wounded and healed over. I also look for diseased or insect infected trees as they can have dramatic coloring and voids that add character. Each piece is a unique, one-of-a-kind, hand crafted art form. Most of the wood I use comes from trees that are blown down in storms. I learned to turn wood by reading books, watching videos, live demonstrations, and one on one instruction by some of the world’s best woodturners. I have also learned a lot by attending several woodturning symposiums and spending thousands of hours turning wood. I am a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Hendersonville Woodcrafters, the Greenville Woodworkers Guild, the AAW (American Association of Woodturners), and the Carolina Mountain Woodturners. I am currently a board member of the Carolina Mountain Woodturners. www.beneaththebark.us 828-694-1484 Gary Bills