WOMEN IN TURNING
July 27, 2020
WIT is a relatively new addition to the many ways the American Association of Woodturners supports those of us who love to turn. However, there have been outstanding women turning wood for quite a long time. Two that come to mind quickly are Betty Scarpino and Bonnie Klein.
My own experience with turning began when I found a used German Unimat, quite small, around 1972. Pieces were regularly thrown against the wall. A house fire in 1974 eliminated the Unimat. As a dealer at a small miniatures show in Santa Cruz my table was next to that of a fellow selling Taig lathes. By selling 3 of them he gave each of us a 35% discount, and I was on my way. Tools were by Brookstone and Miller Falls, and I was scraping, not cutting. My turnings were for the miniatures industry, scaled to 1” to the foot and ½” to the foot. I still turn my minis on that small Taig lathe.
10 to 15 years ago I discovered the AAW and found a home with the Silicon Valley Woodturners, meeting on the far side of San Jose. Eventually I bought a used Jet mini lathe and some proper tools. I wanted to turn larger thing, so replaced it with a Ricon Midi lathe that I love. I turn for fun, and have trouble asking for help, so I still don’t have the skills I need to turn skillfully. I do a lot more scraping and a lot less cutting, but still hope to improve on that as time goes on.
I hope to hear from more of our women who are turning, and to see some examples of what they are doing posted here.
Some of Barbara's miniature turnings
Jessica Doner is our WIT liaison to AAW.