From left: Walnut and holly segmented wood turning, 9 x 4. Cherry, walnut, and holly segmented wood turning, 8 x 5.5. Tropical, walnut, and holly segmented wood turning, 6.5 x 5.
Published online courtesy Cowboys and Indians Magazine, October 2008
Glen Crandall is inspired by the pottery of historic Pueblo artists of the Southwest. Reflecting the designs of Pueblo pottery, Crandall creates intricate wooden pots made from a variety of hardwoods in a process called segmented wood turning, “My greatest satisfaction comes in translating those designs into wood,” Crandall says. Each pot takes 50 to 60 hours of craftsmanship after 10 to 12 hours of design. Most of the pots contain somewhere between 150 and 800 individual pieces of wood. Crandall adheres the segments, or pieces of wood, together to form rings. He varies in diameter, thickness, and design of the rings to create the detail and structure of the pots. Once multiple rings have been created they must be glued together and smoothed into a uniform shape on a wood lathe. Crandall uses both domestic and imported hardwoods. No paints or stains are used. Once the pot is smoothed into its final form, the finishing touches are made by sanding and varnishing the pot, allowing the natural colors of the wood to stand out in intricate design.
Crandall had a lengthy career in engineering and later accepted a position with the physical plant at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. After he retired in 1994, a friend gave Crandall an old wood lathe. Although he had never used one before, he quickly taught himself the technique and perfected his skill through trial and error until he was able to create the beautiful wooden pots he makes today. Crandall lives with his wife in New Mexico, and in addition to his wood-turning success, he is also an accomplished photographer. His travels through the Southwest continue to inspire both of these pursuits.
- Ann Kathryn Orsinger