Woodturner Profile – Ron Kent

ron kent bowlWhile cruising the web looking at woodturning sites I came across Ron Kent‘s website. Ron is a woodturning artist from Hawaii, and a member of the Honolulu Woodturners chapter of the AAW. Those of you who have been turning for some time are probably familiar with Ron’s work. This was my first exposure to his craft and I have to say it is more than amazing. He is renowned for his translucent, thin walled bowls.

Ron first delved into woodturning when his wife gave him a toy lathe for Christmas in 1975. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he went to the beach and picked up a piece of driftwood. He fashioned a tool by sharpening a screwdriver and began to turn. This experience caused him to explore the potential of woodturning. That toy lathe soon fell apart, but that only led to the purchase of a larger, and over time, progressively larger, lathes.

Ron started with bottle forms and expanded to extensions of the bottle. He also experimented with the egg shape. Ron continued on his woodturning journey by venturing into what would be his signature art – thin walled bowls.

Norfolk Island Pine grows throughout the Islands of the South Pacific and became Ron’s material of choice for turning. The knot patterns and highly figured wood when turned thin and oiled glows under gallery lighting. This was different than anyone else was doing at the time. His process takes considerable time with multiple trips to the lathe to take the wall thickness down gradually. Then repeated oiling and sanding results in the original moisture in the wood being replaced by the oil which provides the translucence.

Ron says that his work is about the light and form, not about the bowl itself.

“My mission is to create and select the silhouette that best interacts with the natural characteristics of each log, highlighting the intrinsic beauties that nature had provided, seeking a harmonious blend.”

Ron’s woodturnings have been sold in high-end galleries and are on display in many leading museums such as The Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Permanent Collection at The White House.

If you are looking for inspiration, or just want to see some amazing woodturning, visit Ron’s site at http://www.ronkent.com. If all you do is look through his gallery I can guarantee it will be time well spent.