Looking at one of Doug Brown’s bowls on display at Art Center Morro Bay, I had a disturbing thought. I had no desire to learn how he turned a tree into a work of art. My curiosity flatlined. I didn’t need the particulars and the proof that a man had created this in his workshop. I just wanted to enjoy the bowl and pretend he found it that way in a forest.
Once I left the captivating bowls, urns, boxes, vases and pens, I persuaded myself to learn a little information bit by bit. The first term to unravel among these trees of mystery was “lathe.”
The exhibit features work by members of the Central Coast Woodturners of California. Not woodcarvers. Woodturners use a lathe, a machine where the wood moves while a stationary tool cuts and shapes it.
How the pieces ended up with such a fantastic luster was another mystery best left uncovered, but I did fire up the Internet to note finishes, such as shellac, laquer, oil and wax.
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Gordon Rowland is also among the dozen woodturners exhibiting. He calls his “found on ground” or “FOG” vase “Second Chance.” The wood was, you guessed it, found on the ground and given a second chance, which represents the second chance the Nipomo resident was given after a kidney transplant.
Another vase with an interesting story is one of Joe Mansfield’s. It’s made in segments with 574 pieces representing six wood types.
Morro Bay Art Association and woodturners member Ralph Wessel worked with gallery director Ann E. Brown to bring the exhibit. Brown says she plans another invitational exhibit for May 19 — this time with glass artists. Reaching out to those who aren’t yet association members enhances the gallery, she says, and brings in three-dimensional work to display on pedestals around the gallery in addition to the two-dimensional pieces found on the walls.
Paintings by Kathy Miller and students from her watercolor class are currently on display in the main gallery. Additional member art can be found upstairs, including Chet Amyx’s nifty mixed media using newspaper to create a Volkswagen called “Freeway Entrance.”
Enjoy all three exhibits from noon to 4 p.m. daily through May 13. Art Center Morro Bay is at 835 Main St. For more information about the Central Coast Woodturners, visit Central Coast Woodturners. The group meets monthly in San Luis Obispo. The challenge for May is to make a turned birdhouse.
If you’re returning from Morro Bay by way of Cuesta College, be sure to stop into the campus gallery for the student art exhibit featuring two winners by Coast Union High School grad Nicole Anderson. She won best of show with an untitled mixed media piece and first place for a painting called “Follow Me.”
Other first place winners are Tom Martini, ceramics; Emily Mullisen, drawing; Raymond Norte, photography; and Emily Emanuel, sculpture.
Gallery hours at Cuesta are noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through May 17.