Don Muller Gallery
40 Main St • Northampton, MA
Art! – An Upscale Art and Fine Craft Gallery
200 First Street
Troy, New York
Creations Fine American Craft
443 Hockessin Corner
Hockessin Corner, Delaware
The Real Mother Goose Gallery
901 SW Yamhill Street • Portland, OR
Del Mano Gallery
Los Angeles, California
Eric Reeves’ woodturning career began while he was a teenager. Inspired by an otherwise dull junior high school film about furniture-making in colonial Williamsburg, he was completely taken with the working of a spindle lathe. Within a year he had purchased his own equipment, using profits from his neighborhood gardening enterprises. The tools were a Sears Craftsman 1/4-horsepower beginner’s lathe, several gauges and scrapers, and a faceplate ($89—real money in 1965!).
It was more than twenty-five years later that family and professional life (he is a professor of English at Smith College) permitted Eric to return with seriousness to his boyhood hobby—years during which woodturning had established itself fully as a serious craft art. Turners such as Bert Marsh, David Ellsworth, Richard Raffan, John Jordan, and others had set extraordinary technical and aesthetic standards.
Eric’s response to the challenges was to emulate, but also to attempt technically distinctive work (he has moved well beyond his original Sears lathe) and to establish his own design sense. He would be the first to acknowledge his indebtedness to many fine woodturners, including Lane Philips of Provo, Utah. But he also takes pride in the fact that his work has previously appeared in the craft art galleries where woodturning is particularly featured, including the Del Mano Gallery (Los Angeles), the Synderman Gallery (Philadelphia), and the Northwest Gallery of Fine Woodworking (Seattle). After an absence from woodturning of five years because of medical challenges, Eric has resumed gallery display and sales at his two favorite galleries: the Don Muller Gallery in his hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts and the Real Mother Goose Gallery in Portland, Oregon, as well as Creations Fine Crafts in Hockessin, Delaware, the Del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, and Art! Fine Art and Crafts Gallery, Troy, New York.
One feature of Eric’s gallery work is unique: all profits he receives, from all sales, are donated to humanitarian relief organizations working in greater Sudan, an attempt to help alleviate terrible deprivation and suffering in this ravaged land. For 15 years, in addition to professional and family responsibilities, and a grim battle with leukemia, he has worked as a researcher, analyst and advocate for a country that has known nothing but war for nearly the entirety of its half century of existence. He has published and lectured widely, nationally and internationally, and on several occasions has testified before the Congress (see www.sudanreeves.org. His vehicle for charitable giving is the “Sudan Aid Fund,” administered by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (see www.sudanreeves.org/sudan-aid-fund).
Eric feels as he is turning—always in pursuit of a perfection that woodturning promises, however elusively—that the more successful he is at his craft, the more he will be able to translate that success into a physical beauty providing support for desperately needy civilians, primarily women and children. In short, he believes that his woodturning holds the potential for a profound meeting of the aesthetic and the moral.
WOOD DESCRIPTIONS(the woods I turn most often, though there are dozens of others):
Cocobolo (Dalbergia rutusa [family: leguminosae])
Perhaps the most beautiful of the many spectacular tropical American woods, Cocobolo has variegated yellow, orange, and rich brown colors. It takes a wonderfully lustrous finish.
Maple Burl (Acer negundo [family: Aceracea])
Maple is Burl is an extraordinary turning wood, varying highly in grain qualities, color, spalting (the fungal and bacterial formations that often give burl its distinctive patterning), and degrees of bark and other enclosures.
Padauk (Pterocarpus soauxii, family: Leguminosae)
Padauk is a particularly fine and colorful turning wood from tropical America (it darkens dramatically—and beautifully—with age).
Canarywood (Centrolobium spp., family Leguminosae) A beautiful and very colorful turning wood, Canarywood has a wide range of yellow to red hues. It is an ideal turning wood and takes a great finish.
Cherry Burl (Prunus serotina, [family: Rosaceae] Cherry Burl has the characteristic warmth and color of Cherry, but with much greater figure and character.
American White Oak (including burl form) (Quercus alba; family: Fagaceae) American White Oak has a strong grain, with difficult working properties. But bowl blanks turned from wood near a burl is quite beautiful.
Myrtle (Umbellularia californica; family Myrtaceae)
Wide-ranging and subtle in color and figuration, Myrtle (and its burl form) is an exceptionally beautiful wood. It is native to California.
Box Elder Burl (subspecies of Acer negundo [family: Aceracea])
A subspecies of Acer negundo (Maple), Box Elder in its burl form is a prized turning wood for its coloration, and the opportunities its offers for natural-edge turning.
Bubinga (Guibourtia demusei, Family: Leguminosae)
This beautiful wood from South Africa has striking color—pale reddish to deep burgundy, with moderately course grain. It has both straight and interlocking grain patterns.
Red River Gum Burl (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis)
A sensational turning wood, especially for hollow forms. This unusual species of Eucalyptus has a wonderful palette of reds, browns, even yellows, with occasional bark inclusions.
Mexican Rosewood (Bocote) (Cordia alliodora)
A tropical American hardwood with a medium coarse, very interesting grain pattern. It an be spectacularly colorful.
Purpleheart (Peltogyne pubescens; family: Leguminosae)
A truly extraordinarily colored wood from tropical America. It is extremely fissile and hard to work. African Blackwood is a beautiful detail wood, extremely lustrous.
African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylo, Family: Leguminosae)
A gorgeous, extremely dark rosewood, ideal for inlay and lamination
Where it all happens—