Willamette Valley Woodturners

Art Liestman Bio

Art Liestman:

I turn spindle blanks that are made up of three laminated layers.  After turning, the middle layer is removed and the two outer layers are rejoined to give a turned object that isn't round. More details can be found in my American Woodturner article "Beyond Round: The Lost Wood Process" (August 2012). This should be understandable and within the abilities of any of your members.


I was born and raised in Kansas, but I have now lived in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC for more than half of my life. My day job (as a University professor) keeps me busy and provides lots of stimulation, but I turn to making wood art whenever I can spare the time.

Although I had a brief and unimpressive exposure to woodworking in a junior high school class, I began working with wood more seriously when I was a graduate student. At that time, I was interested in designing and making experimental musical instruments.

After moving to BC, I fell in with a rough crowd at the local woodworking club. One of the most interesting things that the club did was to hold an annual 2x4 challenge in which members were challenged to make something using only an 8 foot long 2x4, glue, and finishing products. One of the 2x4 projects that I decided to make was an automated programmable xylophone. It needed some roundish parts which was a good enough excuse to add a new tool to my small arsenal - the lathe.

While completing that instrument, I quickly discovered that turning wood on the lathe was quite addictive. At that point, I began to focus on woodturning rather than instrument building. I spent a few years making the usual functional turned items, but a demonstration by Frank Sudol opened my eyes to the possibilities of expression in artistic woodturning. After taking a particularly illuminating class with Jacques Vesery, I starting making my puzzling illusion vessels. Since then, my life in wood art continues to evolve.

In addition to the puzzling illusion, I've enjoyed exploring other surface enhancements using pyrography, carving, and coloring. I have a particular interest in making pieces on the lathe that do not necessarily appear to be turned. I'm not opposed to working off of the lathe, but virtually every piece that I make is based on a turned form.

I have demonstrated at many national and regional symposia, as well as for dozens of local woodturning clubs. I have also taught week long courses at the John C. Campbell Folk School and at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts as well as some single day classes for local clubs. My work has been seen in numerous exhibitions and is available through galleries across North America.

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