I must keep my shop door locked by necessity to work without interruption. This is especially so during a bowl-turning day. Most visitors come to see me by appointment. It’s a great joy to open the door and welcome a newcomer into my home away from home.

“It smells so good in here. I love the smell of wood” is often the reaction of my first-time visitors. It amazes me how many are well acquainted with a variety of woods when people walk toward one they recognize.

Brandon Johnson, his parents, and the Smileys visiting with the Clarks

They are usually surprised by the size of the shop. Many assume that bowl making could take place in a small area just big enough for a lathe. It becomes obvious after their shop tour how my work often starts with the original slab. How it is stored, planed, shaped, and has a resting spot on the gluing table is soon clear. Visitors also see the amount of space needed to treat the wood with various tools of the trade.

The storage space in my shop is more than ample. Visitors are often amazed with the amount of stored wood in various sizes, shapes and styles. Additionally, the dust sucking machine catches their attention. It’s wide metal arms reach out to each dust-creating machine.

I love having some bowls on display upon the shelf above my main work bench. I can easily reach them in order to give my guest hand-held samples of the beautiful woods. I get comments like, “Oh, I just love orange, and this one has orange in it!” referring to my latest creation of alder bowl with orange stripes and trim or “I get a chill when holding this black walnut bowl.” The reactions and ideas offered are certainly appreciated. Visitors commonly share the quality that draws them to a particular bowl or platter, and it seems each person who examines the bowls has at least one favorite.

The little 24 drawer cabinet is also a favorite of shop visitors. Just as with the bowls, they have never seen anything like it. Most visitors can’t resist the temptation of opening and closing at least one drawer. Creating such precise and exacting work even elicits marvel and appreciation from other wood workers.

The large picture of a Nantucket farm scene with its Eastern sentiment is even mentioned by those who share their visits to my workplace.

Heading Home

I kinda hate to say goodbye, yet I’m grateful my guests have a good sense of the need to leave. I can get back into my work mode. Returning to the work I love is increasingly pleasant after their visit. I still feel their enthusiastic energy which contributes to the ambience of my home away from home.