Ron Ufkes, his wife Jan, and their two children moved to the small town of Lakeview, in north-central Arkansas, after he retired in 1997 from a career in law enforcement and defense industry security. After spending part of two vacations in the area, they had found that they loved the area’s mountains, lakes, forests, and people, and knew that they wanted to settle there.
I have been turning wood as a hobby, in my spare time, for about twenty years, but those familiar with irregular work hours and long commutes know that there isn’t much spare time. Since my retirement, though, I can usually be found in my shop (which is a real mess) working on one of the lathes.
After a storm, I often throw a chainsaw in the back of my pickup and drive around the community to see what has blown down. Most of my work that you see here in the gallery is turned from wood from trees brought down by storms or that has been rescued from city or park landscaping crews. I rarely cut a living tree.
I am sorry to say that wood turning has not revealed the meaning of life or given me the deep philosophical insights that some have experienced while practicing their art. But, I do love to collect the wood, and I enjoy the sound of the tools cutting in the blank, and watching the ever changing patterns in the wood as the waste is cut away. The feel of the surface of a well-designed and finished piece can be an almost sensual experience. And, of course, it is also very gratifying when you find someone who liked your work enough to actually pay money for it. Thank you for coming in and taking a look at my work, and if you find something to take home with you, I hope you enjoy it for a long, long time.