Donald Derry

Donald has been a woodworker for 35 years and has made everything from fine furniture and cabinetry to rock and role guitars. In 1992 Don and his wife Kathy adopted a baby girl and made the decision for Donald to change his job status from cabinet maker to full time stay at home dad. Fatherhood gave Donald time to reconsider his career and go into woodturning. Donald states, “Turning appealed to me because it isn’t dependent on the cutting, fitting and endless measuring that my cabinetmaking required.” So in 1993 He began in to teach himself the craft of Woodturning . His interest in color came about do to an observation that he made at an American Association of Woodturners symposium in 1994. A highlight of the symposium was an instant gallery containing several hundred turnings by amateurs and professionals alike. When he viewed the gallery he ask one question.” What is it that I don’t see represented in this exhibition?” Donald noticed that vibrant color and optical quality finishing were two attributes being neglected by modern wood turners and he set out to exploit both to the highest degree of optical brilliance he could. His quest has been successful enough that his work is more often thought to be Fine Art Glass rather than fine crafted wood. Presently Donald is working in open grain and burl woods that have neutral wood tone which lend well to the coloring process he has developed. The colors are pigments from an industrial paint supplier along with aniline dyes. The pigments are hand rubbed into the unfinished wood, sanded to the appropriate contrast, blended with solvent and enhanced by airbrushing. Each hollow form is then sprayed with 7 to 10 coats of lacquer followed by a 6 step and very intense hand polishing routine until the surface is optically perfect. To give a perspective on the whole process Donald states that, “Coloring, finishing and polishing easily takes more time than the wood turning.

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