Don McIvor is a photographer, writer and musician, but wood turning is his passion. Don’s father and father’s father were woodworkers, and he grew up around the craft.
Don creates abstract, sculptural and decorative art from different species of wood. For example, his Native American petroglyph series includes scenes from petroglyph panels that he dyes, burns and carves on wood. He also enjoys creating artistic and aesthetically pleasing products that function well and are enjoyable to use, like his beautiful men’s shaving gear that incorporate different woods, handle shapes and knots for wet shaving aficionados.
Don’s pieces can be found online at his web site, at the Winthrop Gallery in Winthrop, WA and at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp, WA. Most of his work is commissioned.
LISTENING TO THE FORCE
Don acquired his first lathe in 2004 and spent a year teaching himself. But it was only after attending a week-long intensive workshop with veteran woodturner Richard Raffan that he got serious and started marketing his work. After he and his wife moved to the Methow Valley in 2007, his woodturning career took off.
“The whole turning process is really a dialogue between me as the turner and the wood as it reflects the forces that created it. A lot of times I have something very specific in mind, but I also pick wood and listen to its story and what it’s trying to evoke. It’s a much more organic process and much less clear from the start.”
“Most of my functional products are finished with walnut or tung oil, which is pressed from the seed of the tung tree, a native to Southeast Asia that was used for wood finishing for thousands of years by the Chinese for ocean-going vessels but is now grown commercially in orchards. It’s food safe and easy to maintain.”
“Wood is such an integral part of human history. Whether it’s something that we burn for warmth or shape into furniture and houses, it’s literally with us from cradle-to-grave. In Europe, it’s not too unusual for a 1,200-year-old wood bowl to turn up at an archeological site. With only a little basic care, there’s no reason a bowl bought today won’t be around to serve a family for generations.”
Visit McIvor Woodworks!