John M. Russell
Fine Woodturning
Artist Statement

I have been a self-taught woodturner since 1989.  Every piece that I create is my own design, and the work is completed without any assistance.  My office and studio are located in my home, which is in Linden, VA near the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  I was born in Oklahoma, and raised near the picturesque Glacier National Park in Montana.

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.  It was during my years as a commercial photographer that my artistic interest began to take on a physical form.  While traveling around the world, I had the opportunity to be introduced to many different cultures, art, and architecture.  These experiences, along with the technical aspects of photography, influenced how my artistic creativity would take shape.

Light surrounds and reflects off a photographed subject to create a vision and essence of that subject for others to experience. This can also be said of my woodturnings. I inlay many of my vessels with minerals, such as, opals, turquoise, and pewter. Each tiny piece of gem or mineral is chosen for its size, and then is meticulously placed into the natural grooves and fissures of the wood in mosaic-like fashion. The pewter is melted onto the wood's surface to create a perfect balance of the coolness of the metal with the warmth of the wood. The way the light reflects off of these inlays, as well as the shape and grain of the wood, allows the vessel to take on a personality of its' own.

My role is to help to express that personality in the vessels' final shape. The addition of an inlay, a lid, or other woods as adornments, are expressions of that personality. By combining the natural elements of the wood with another natural element, mineral, the harmony is maintained .  My goal is to create a form that demands to be held, to be explored, and to be viewed for its inherent beauty.


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