18: Raf Strudley

Hand Turned Wood Bowls & Vessels Location: 7011 Empire Grade

Raf StrudleyI have lived in Ben Lomond, with my wife and family, for the past 40 years. Eight years ago I retired after spending 39 years as a teacher, counselor and school principal in Los Gatos. Once retired, I finally had the time to concentrate on my interest in woodturning. I was first inspired, in part, by the artistry of my good friend, ceramicist, Steve Hum. I loved his work, and wanted to try my hand at making similar types of art using wood as my medium as opposed to clay. About 6 years ago an Open Studios event led me to my mentor and wood turning friend Chuc Nowark. Since that time with his guidance I have worked hard to develop my craft.

Raf StrudleyI get extreme enjoyment in transforming raw wood into an object that is beautiful and useful. My approach is rather intuitive, and often the end result is different than what I had originally envisioned. My preference is to use local sustainably harvested wood such as cypress, black acacia and redwood. Recently, I have added inlays, such as turquoise and metal, to enhance the overall beauty of a piece. As I encounter natural anomalies in the wood which some may consider imperfections, my response is to acknowledge them as part of the inherent quality of the wood and include them as a complement to the finished piece.

Raf Strudley