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b. 1956, Othello, Washington


Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL

Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI

University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI


2012 Turned Wood – Small Treasures, del Mano - A Gallery of Fine Contemporary Craft, LLC,

2010 The Art of Wood: Outside the Box, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

2009 Small Treasures, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2007-08 Turned & Sculptured Wood, Del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2006 This Is Not Glass, American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

Nature Transformed, Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY

Contemporary American Woodturning, Rochester Arts Center

2005-06 Small Treasures, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2004 Celebrating Nature, Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Nature Transformed, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI

2001-04 Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Exposition, Chicago, IL

2003 World Trade Center Memorial Competition, New York, NY

2001-03 West Coast International Woodturning Competition, Vancouver, Canada

2000 Fine Art of Wood; The Bohlen Collection, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI


2005 Nature Transformed: Wood Art from The Bohlen Collection. Ulmer, Sean. Hudson Hills Press, Manchester, VT.

2004 Celebrating Nature: Craft Traditions/Contemporary Expressions. Wallace, Kevin. Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

400 Wood Boxes: The Fine Art of Containment & Concealment. Gunter, Veronika. Lark Books, Sterling Publications, New York, NY.

500 Wood Bowls: Bold & Original Designs Blending Tradition & Innovation. Leier, Ray; Peters, Jan & Wallace, Kevin. Lark Books, Sterling Publications, New York, NY.

2000 The Fine Art of Wood: The Bohlen Collection. Fike, Bonita. Abbeville Press, New York, NY.


Donald has been a woodworker for 35 years and has made everything from fine furniture and cabinetry to rock and roll guitars. In 1992 Don and his wife Kathy adopted a baby girl and made the decision for Donald to change his job status from cabinet maker to full time stay at home dad. Fatherhood gave Donald time to reconsider his career and go into woodturning. Donald states, “Turning appealed to me because it isn't dependent on the cutting, fitting and endless measuring that my cabinetmaking required.” So in 1993 he began in earnest to teach himself the craft of Woodturning. His interest in color came about due to an observation that he made at an American Association of Woodturners symposium in 1994. A highlight of the symposium was an instant gallery containing several hundred turnings by amateurs and professionals alike. When he viewed the gallery he asked one question.” What is it that I don’t see represented in this exhibition?” Donald noticed that vibrant color and optical quality finishing were two attributes being neglected by modern wood turners and he set out to exploit both to the highest degree of optical brilliance he could. His quest has been successful enough that his work is more often thought to be Fine Art Glass rather than fine crafted wood.

Presently Donald is working in open grain and burl woods that have neutral wood tone. These woods lend well to the coloring process he has developed. The colors are pigments from an industrial paint supplier along with aniline dyes. The pigments are hand-rubbed into the unfinished wood, sanded to the appropriate contrast, blended with solvent and enhanced by airbrushing. Each hollow form is then sprayed with 7 to 10 coats of lacquer followed by a 6 step and very intense hand polishing routine, executed until the surface is optically perfect. To give a perspective on the whole process Donald states that, “Coloring, finishing and polishing is far more rigorous and risky than the wood turning.”


I had never worked with color artistically until I applied it to my turnings. This opened up a universe of discovery that forced me to view the world with new eyes. The relationship between light and color is no longer something I can take for granted. Rather, it is something I feel compelled to engage in. The use of color can be so quirky and unpredictable that it always challenges me. Often I start with an idea of what I wish to create, but very seldom does the outcome coincide with my original vision. More often than not, the outcome is even better. I've learned to accept that no artist masters the use of color. Nature simply allows us the honor of playing with it. I have been asked,"Which is more difficult, the wood turning or the coloring?" The answer is that both processes are arts of risk that I can no longer separate into different categories. The hollow vessel is more than a painter's canvas and the color is more than a mere application. Neither can become a complete picture until the form is right and the finish has dried.

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