Meet Our Members
The AWA has 153 members – members live all over the US and Canada. Each month we will highlight one or more AWA members.
September 2018 Member Don Mitchell
Don Mitchell’s interest in woodturning started in 8th grade shop class when he turned a mahogany and ash laminated bowl!
He turned professionally in the 80’s and sold his work at Craftsman Co-operative Gallery in Heritage Square. While working
on his degree in Microbiology he worked part time in a custom cabinetry shop in Tucson to supplement his GI bill. Custom
cabinetry production and design became his career spanning 40 years.
He met other woodturners and, with the help of John Lea, Greg Campbell, Phil Brennion, Neal Butterfield and Jim
Stephenson, founded the Arizona Woodturners Association. In 1989 the AWA organization became a chapter of the
American Association of Woodturners. “I am so pleased to see how far the AWA has come. It provides a platform for turners
to showcase and share their skills and diverse techniques.”
His biggest challenge is showcasing the natural beauty of the wood. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, one more
cut and BAM! His turning preference is hollow turnings, natural edge and burled woods. His favorite woods to turn are
Juniper Burl and Western Maple Burl.
One of his more memorable experiences was meeting Rude Osolnik at a California Symposium and then getting a follow up
call from him while he was visiting his sister in Scottsdale. Rude came over with some curly maple and we spent the day
turning. A very enjoyable and great experience with a renowned wood turner. Other turners Don follows are David Ellsworth,
Michael Peterson, Todd Hoyer and Del Stubbs.
Don advises new woodturners to go to local meetings, watch videos, and if the opportunity arises, go to symposiums. Make
sure to ask a lot of questions. It is amazing what little tricks you can pick up. Be open to constructive criticism, it will only help
you. It is always important to use your safety equipment. Get a good face shield and respirator and use them! A lifesaver tip
for Don is CA glue.
A notable collector Bud Jacobson came into the gallery and said “I see David Ellsworth and Michael Peterson. Where is Don
Mitchell?” He had me reevaluate my turning techniques and develop my own style. Time passed, Bud came in and bought
one of my pieces and said “Now I see Don”. It was a very moving experience and changing moment for Don.
After retiring from custom cabinetry Don opened DM Design Studio to sell his artwork (so much for retirement). It really sums
it all up when Don said: “I just love turning, there is something magical about creating a vessel out of a beautiful piece of
wood for other people to enjoy.”
August 2018 member David Harrington
David Harrington is new to the Arizona Woodturners Association. He previously belonged to the Wisconsin Woodturners Club. David and his wife, Suzanne, moved to Casa Grande in 2017 – they don’t miss the snow and winter weather up north.
He is a “retired” cabinetmaker (an excellent one, if you look at their new kitchen). Working in his Dad’s shop, always being around wood as a child, is David’s memories of turning and woodworking. “Round things” were challenging and provided more appeal to him. For many years David created reproductions for antiques missing a part (finials, legs, spindles). Turning reproductions to exact specifications was painstaking and really pushe
d him to his limits. What has been his biggest learning mistake? “Be careful with that one last cut!”
Cherry wood has always been a favorite – he calls it a very “forgiving” wood. Since moving to Arizona, Mesquite has become one of his new favorite woods to turn. His beautiful bowls are an asset in their home. He enjoys turning bowls, hollow forms and spindles. David says he got “serious” about woodturning in 2000. The output of his “serious” work is impressive!
He was working on a Spalted Maple bowl on his lathe the day we visited – he was hoping for some good character in the bowl by the time he finishes. Asking him what one technique he couldn’t live without in his shop – David emphasized sharpening with jigs.
Even though treated, he has found as many have, wood dries fast here in AZ and cracks. David brought lots of turning blanks with him from Wisconsin – he has lots of choices to turn in his retirement!
What is David’s advice to new woodturners? “Don’t Give Up!”
July 2018 member Edward Jones
Edward Jones loves teaching about segmented bowls! Although he has been interested and working with wood since a teenager. After retiring from a construction business (now run by his son) – he really got in to turning. Turning of wood became another love! He was hooked.
Segmented woodturning quickly became his primary interest. As a former contractor (always trying to figure something out) Ed started working on a better way to make segmented bowls. Thru many trials and tribulations he has found a way that works!
Segmented is all about cutting wood into smaller pieces, gluing the pieces back together and turning them. Using different wood combinations, cuts, designs can come to life in an amazing fashion.
Ed was honored for excellence by the board of Segmented Woodturners in 2012. Very exciting but humbling experience for Ed. His work was on display at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2014 (292 art submissions, 37 pieces selected – two from Edward Jones). His artistic woodturning work is displayed at several art galleries in Arizona.
As excited as Ed is about segmented turning – he wants others to learn the art also. He has created a website with a goal to teach “making segmented bowls”. He has learned lots of tips over the years and wants to share. He has made sleds that make life easier working with wood and save time. Some sleds are: perrfect “ring cut”, a perfect corner cut, “Segeasy” sled to cut and glu a perfect circle – sleds for table saws and band saws.
Ed lives in Prescott Valley during the summer and at Robson Ranch during the winter. He is an active member at both Prescott Area Woodturners and Arizona Woodturners Association. Check out his website: www.AZwoodturner.com