Dick Kelly

This is part two of my Woodturners to Know series.  The following is a collection of websites and images from some of my favorite turners and other craftspeople.  Some have been my teachers, and the others -- I just admire their work.  Most have strong, individual ideas about design. As I’ve gone along in turning, I like to think that listening to them and seeing their work has given me permission to explore form, design and color in my own work. Click the links and see what they have to say for themselves.  

Dick Kelly







Layport thumb


When I started turning a few years ago, I was already carving small fish, birds and bugs.  So I looked for turners who were also combining turning with carving.  It didn’t take me long to find Ron Layport, and he has remained my favorite turner/carver since.  After designing and building one-of-a-kind furniture and an award-winning forty-year career in advertising, Ron was introduced to turning by David Ellsworth and began turning wooden vessels in 1992.  His work is instantly recognizable and was featured in the Merging Exhibit at the 2015 AAW Symposium.  The best overview of him and his work is on the Collectors of Wood Art website the pictures there can be supplemented with an internet search for his images.  This “Voices from the Rim” vessel was used with permission from the artist.






Priddle thumb


Graeme is a New Zealander who travels the world (literally) to teach turning and participate in turning events.  He started turning in 1990.  Now his work is represented in significant collections worldwide.  He’s an accomplished technician who’s not afraid of working big, with offset timbers spinning on his cement lathe.  Then he can switch gears and scale down his designs to achieve delicate detail in his break point series. He’s willing to share his “branding” embellishment technique and provide instruction on making an inexpensive machine to do it.  His work, which shows his Kiwi heritage, evolves to include new processes and design ideas. It seems like every time I see his recent work and collaborations there’s something fresh to grab my attention. “Break Point” Image used with permission.






Fennell thumb


The planning and patience that go into each of J Paul’s pierced thin hollowforms hint at his previous career as an aerospace engineer.  But a tour of his website demonstrates how successfully he has transitioned into a wood guy.  Don’t miss the link to his video -- it’s as pleasant a conversation about turning as you’ll see, and the demo makes his precision work look deceptively easy.  Paul was there at the beginning of AAW andwas a charter member of Central New England Woodturners, one of the earliest chapters to organize under the AAW. He has missed only one symposium since the first one in 1987. He current resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.  “Coriolis” Image used with permission.





Metcalf thumb


Bruce is a studio jeweler, writer and educator.  He has been writing and lecturing on the current state of modern craftsmanship since 1980.  So I have included him here among my favorite woodturners for his writing, which is universally applicable to all crafts, including turning.  Look at the pictures of his jewelry if you’d like, but definitely read what he has to say about craft and art.  How they’re related but not really the same.  Bruce’s writings are where I go to clarify the art vs. craft discussions that appear regularly on the turning websites.  Bruce has an academic background, and reading his educated opinions often gets to be a difficult slog. Persevere with the “The Pissoir Problem” in the “Towards a Theory of Crafts” section of the “Writings” section of his website and you’ll find lots to think about.   I come away proud to be a craftsman.  “Two Doves” image used with permission.





Miller thumb


John is my favorite craftsman. He died recently, in 2013. He had a forty-year career teaching in the Cleveland area and produced only four to eight of his beautifully crafted pieces in a year. Consequently, he was never widely known outside the metalsmithing community.  With research and experimentation, he re-discovered the technique of granulation, the eutectic attachment of small beads and shapes of metal, which had been unused since Etruscan times – the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.  He combined goldsmithing with enameling for color in his distinctive designs, often featuring snails and insects.  John’s presence is diminishing since his death, so it’s time to acquaint yourself with him.  He didn’t have a website, so use the Cleveland Museum’s site for an introduction.  http://www.clevelandart.org/events/exhibitions/jewelry-john-paul-miller  Then access his images on the web for a broader view of his work by going to either Bing Images or Google Images search page and filling in “John Paul Miller”.



©  DICK KELLY   2015

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