November 2, 2019 (8:30am to 1:00pm - demonstration starts at 9:00am)

Mann Tool & Supply, 802 Chris Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169

Palmetto Woodturners is excited to present our very own member Bob Lyon (

Bob will be giving a presentation entitled "Respect the Spindle & Vessel". This presentation will explore how design can affect the vessels and spindles we make, the history of turning, and more.

About the Artist

Robert F. Lyon received a BA degree in Studio Art and from The College of New Jersey, Trenton, New Jersey. In 1977 he was awarded the MFA degree from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty of the School of Art at Louisiana State University in 1978 where he taught ceramics, glass and sculpture. In 1997 he was named Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina. In 2002 he rejoined the faculty where he taught sculpture. Robert Lyon has been the recipient of many awards and grants, which include a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship in sculpture, a Southeastern Artists Fellowship from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and a Project Grant from the Southeastern College Art Conference. Lyon has been an artist-in-residence at Artpark, Lewiston, New York, Sculpture Space, Inc. in Utica, New York, The Banff Center in Banff, Canada, and the Kohler Company in Kohler, Wisconsin, the 2009 International Turning Exchange, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has been an invited participant in the Emma International Collaboration in Saskatoon, Canada, and the Echo Lake Collaboration, Newtown, Pennsylvania. In 2013 Robert was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in Craft from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Additionally, he has demonstrated at many venues including the AAW Symposium, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Swiss Association of Woodturning, Geneva, Switzerland and many AAW clubs in the USA.

In 2015 Robert Lyon retired from his University teaching position and is now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the University of South Carolina and full-time studio artist.

He is represented by Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, and resides in Columbia, South Carolina.

Artist Statement

My interest in architecture, especially the buildings of Italian architect Aldo Rossi, small granaries from the Ivory Coast, and the ancient towers of Iraq along with other cylindrical forms made in clay and glass, led me to working with the lathe.

My early work with pencils originates from an interest in memory. My mother had died, and she had suffered significant memory loss during her illness. Her dementia made me confront the fragility of our brain and how easily decades of recollections and thoughts can be erased. Working in my sketchbook, and experimenting at the lathe, I began to realize that graphite and erasers would make good visual metaphors for the way our brain works. A mark made with graphite is like our memory, easily smeared or erased, never permanent.

Some of my pieces play off my observations as a beekeeper, as the pencils in cross-section have been grouped together so they take on a honeycomb pattern. In the others, I have experimented with encasing, sawing, and splitting pencils and their erasers. In these works, the pencils echo patterns such as the vertical structure of the vessels and the cellular structure of the wood, along with abstracted patterns of the interiors of the pencils themselves. Additionally, I’m an avid student of the guitar, and it has been pointed out that some of the patterns, especially those comprised of pencil parts and their erasers, resemble patterns that occur when I’m visualizing mode and arpeggio patterns that occur up and down the neck.