John has been involved with three dimensional art creation for over forty years. He started making African wire cars for himself and his friends when he was in his teens. After emigrating from South Africa in 1963 he started work as a lapidist in a jewellery store in Toronto. In 1970 he started work as a shop teacher in a junior high school in Toronto. He moved to Kingston with his young family in 1975 where he was employed as a teacher of Industrial Arts.

He taught in the school system for 32 years, retiring from teaching in 2000. Most of his teaching career was spent in teaching wood, metal and plastic crafts and design.

He has been a member of the Kingston Potters Guild, and made numerous clay vessels both practical and fanciful.

After retiring from teaching John made a wood lathe which he is presently involved in using to make wood forms. His experience with pottery forms is reflected in his wood lathe work. As an avid naturalist he is always striving to enhance the inner beauty of the wood to show in his work.

Most of his work is made from reclaimed wood. Wood that would otherwise have ended up in a fire sowewhere or in the dump in some cases.

John is presently using a General 18" diameter electronic control lathe. There is a review of this lathe on the site.

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Philosophy of art.

"My background in lapidary places importance on the surface finish - thus the turnings I produce need to attain that gemstone polish. One of my customers suggested that the burl surface of a bowl reminded her of marble rather than wood.

My background in pottery and throwing pots on the potters wheel influences the form of each vessel.

Shop teaching has provided the skills to attain the best form from the material at hand and with the most suitable finish. "Teaching children in a workshop requires the teacher to be familiar with all aspects of safe and efficient production."

Why do I enjoy wood turning? There is a certain pleasure one gets from making a beautiful item from a gnarly hunk of wood that most people would call firewood. That is the satisfaction, but then there is the pleasure one gets from having a sharp tool take copious quantities of wood from the spinning wood. The mental challenge of solving technical problems associated with constructing the lathe and accessories is another pleasure. Oh I should mention that one of my hobbies is collecting and making mechanical puzzles.

 

 

John Williams

Wood Turnings for Connoisseurs- Art Biography

John looking happy