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As a life-long resident of the Quabbin region, Ray Asselin's amazing woodturnings reflect his "reverence for wood" as well as his appreciation of New England's unique forests, ever-changing seasons, natural resources, and history.
Ray has been making woodturned creations such as bowls and vases since 1994. His first experience turning wood was on an old treadle lathe in a one-day class at Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA, some 25 years ago. He was hooked, and purchased his first lathe.
Most of his early turnings were "weed pots" (vases into which you put dried weeds, grasses, etc.), but have included many other objects, such as platters, bowls, lamps, lidded boxes, candle holders, hollow vessels, and some segmented items. As a self-taught woodturner, Ray loves seeing the shapes that emerge from each piece of wood and the hunt for new wood specimens to use in his work. If you ask Ray about why he created his artwork, he'll tell you that he loves both the solitude and seeing people's reactions to finished pieces. His sense of humor and good-natured personality add to the charm of his work.
Most of the woods Ray turns are from local trees that have died or been taken down of necessity, or have been storm damaged. He never cuts down live trees for the sake of obtaining wood. You'll find many of his pieces retain the natural defects of the wood (worm holes, bark inclusions, voids, etc.), because they're a reminder of the rugged nature and resilience of trees.
Ray's work has been featured in local galleries, retail shops, craft museums, and online shops. He works tirelessly to create his pieces, each reflecting the unique attributes of the wood from which it was created. It takes a real keen eye to artistically draw out the natural beauty of the wood, and Ray is very good at just that!
Ray's own words sum up his craft best: "There is no other substance like wood, with its textures, colors, figure, grain patterns, and densities. Celebrating all those features in a pleasing form is what woodturning is all about."
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