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Woodwork: Decorative Bowls
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Dick Gerard

“My work reflects my love of wood, whether the object produced is functional or purely decorative. I believe that wood, with a few notable exceptions, is an underappreciated art medium. I would like to help correct that perception by producing objects from the lathe that are both well-made and regarded as worthy of the word “artistic.”

Dick Gerard had a fleeting career as a science and math major, spent a summer as a phantom student and bridge player, and was once a gandydancer, driving spikes by hand for the C&O Railroad.

Reading a magazine helped focus his interests.

“I was intrigued by some articles in Fine Woodworking magazine about wooden bowl making on the lathe,” he explained. “Once I tried it, I was hooked!”

Thirty years later, everything about his craft inspires the Marion County artisan. If he had to single out the most inspirational aspect, “it would be the seemingly endless variety of objects that can be produced from wood,” said Dick, who has traveled to places as far-flung as Australia, the Bahamas and Alaska to perfect his turning. “My work reflects my passion and my interests, from the humble wooden bowl, whether plain or with surface enhancements, to sculptural works.”

His pieces often feature surface enhancements done through wood burning, air brushing, dyes, texturizing and carving.

“I am deeply moved by tribal art motifs, such as Native American, Australian Aboriginal designs, African tribal icons, and images and themes from all of Polynesia,” said Dick, who received the American Association of Woodturners Lifetime Membership Award for contributions to the field of woodturning in 2004.

Born and raised in Indiana, his parents and grandparents promoted working hard, giving more than you get and respecting nature. All of that is reflected in his lathe work, particularly the many hours he’s spent exploring forests and woods all over the state. Those forays have been another great influence on why he chose to work with wood.

Receiving the Indiana Artisan designation, “means many things, but mainly it means that I must continue to advance and develop within my field, and, it also means that others have seen the worth of my work,” he said.