March 2, 2019 (9:00am to 1:00pm)

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

Palmetto Woodturners is excited to present "When Good Wood Cracks" -- a demonstration by Dennis Belcher (

About the Artist

Dennis Belcher is a renowned author and contributor to the AAW magazine. He lives in Hampstead, NC and is an active member of the Wilmington Woodturners Association. His turnings are displayed in galleries from Virginia to Illinois.

Artist Statement

I suppose I followed the normal course of many, in that the first projects were need driven and revolved around the needs of the family. A playhouse needed to be built. A family room needed to be finished. The projects slowly changed from carpentry work to building furniture. A book case was needed for a daughter. Jewelry boxes gave way to hope chests, which gave way to cribs and so forth.

Then in 2004 my world changed. I attended the Sycamore Institute and took a week long course in the construction of a continuous arm Windsor chair. That week was my first taste of the "feel" of things. When one builds flat-work (cabinets and such), the concern is to make "straight" cuts and to make those cuts to an accurate measurement. The Windsor chair was constructed by hand and to the measurement of the eye. The size was right, when it "looked right". The seat was right, when it "felt right". The height was right when it "sat right".

In the course of building the chair, I was reintroduced to the lathe -- a tool I had not used since my junior high days.

I found the lathe a tool that kindled by passions. The ability to use my hands and eyes to form an object seen only in my mind is a marvelous thing. The sing of wood curls coming off a green log is a music that cries for more. The road of how do I do what I see in my mind, to a growing awareness of shape, color and form is an all engaging path.

Clearly I am on that road of artistic awareness and development. Where that road leads me I do not know, but I do know that it is an incredibly pleasurable journey.

As with many journeys, there are turns in the road. In 2007 I participated in my first art show. Over the next three years I was juried in an additional 20 art shows in the Midwest. My work was accepted into galleries throughout central Illinois. My skill as a craftsman was growing and my artistic sense continued to sharpen. Then the road turned. In 2010, we left Illinois and moved to the coast of North Carolina.

I was away from my journey for two years while we completed the move and constructed a new studio. As I resumed by passions, I found that the art world had changed. Wood art has moved from embracing the natural beauty of wood, to wood is a canvas on which the artist creates his statement. The journey now is to think of myself as an artist in wood rather than a turner of wood. In November 2013 I was granted a North Carolina Regional Artist Grant Award to aid in this transition and growth.