18: Raf Strudley

Hand Turned Wood Bowls & Vessels Location: 7011 Empire Grade

I 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.

I 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.