There are many genres of segmented turning. There are vessels, ribbons, ropes, wall hangings, jewelry and geometric shapes in both solid and open-segmented construction. I have experimented with most, if not all, of the different styles.
For me, it all starts as a challenge — a puzzle to be solved. First the design, then the fixture preparation, material selection, component preparation, construction, turning and finally the finishing.
The key to success in every piece I do is precision. My affinity for perfection is an absolute necessity. Most designs are unforgiving, with adjustments being microscopic. My artistry lies in the application of technique to design.
I always use natural woods and clear finishes. I believe the texture, color and grain of the wood are more appealing than painting, staining and dyeing. By using different woods in a project, the possible presentations are limitless.
The construction of a piece usually presents the biggest challenge. I guess this is where the engineer in me comes out, as the fun part is solving these problems. Almost every piece I have made has presented challenges that can result in new methods or techniques. Necessity is the mother of invention, so I am lucky to learn something new every day.
The key to good construction is in the design phase. I may spend months designing a piece and the necessary fixtures. The design process can be very intriguing as new possibilities peek around every corner and I begin to see new variations arise out of current projects. My inspiration is in improvement with new, better and usually more involved projects always down the road.
It is one piece at a time. There are no magic methods and no shortcuts. While many woodturners don't enjoy segmented turning because of the time and patience it demands, I revel in the intricacies of this art form. I get to solve puzzles every day.
To some, a well-crafted and well-designed piece is just visually pleasing. It may represent something to them, intentional or not. I think that the important thing is that the piece grab a heartstring and be whatever it is to the observer. The most interesting pieces will most always mean different things to different people.