About Our Art
erry Crowe was raised on a small farm in the woody Ozark hills of Missouri. After serving in the US Navy and Air Force, he went into the restaurant business. He eventually made his way to the South Pacific where he worked as a hotel chef in Ponape and the Saipan. While there, he built a house, and when he needed spindles for a staircase, found that he’d have to make his own.
“Without any previous experience using a lathe, I turned the spindles,” he said. “I haven’t stopped turning wood since.”
These days, Crowe spends most of his time in the studio at his lathe, or out searching for special pieces of wood that will make the perfect bowls. He uses Ozark woods like apple, cherry, elm, maple, locust, redbud, pine, box elder, mulberry, sassafras, tulip, poplar, walnut, persimmon, cedar, and sycamore.
“Burls from any tree are my favorite to turn,” he said. “Mother Nature has made the color of the wood as close to perfect as possible, so my pieces are never stained or colored.”
Using accents of crushed stones, including turquoise, malachite, and lapis, Crowe highlights grains and imperfections in the wood that he turns.
Crowe compares his experience, 35 years of experience as a chef, to his new career as a woodturner. Both disciplines, he said, involve searching for the best ingredients, and require proper preparation and presentation.
“When I put my name on the bottom, I’m saying ‘this is my best attempt to show off the beauty in this piece of wood, and if you enjoy the piece as much as I’ve enjoyed it’s making, then my efforts have been a success,'” he said.