Enriching lives through art and craft

Janice Levi

Janice Levi
Mrs., 2020
Holly, Cocobolo

Artist Statement:
My fascination with woodturning goes back to my childhood when my father would let me hold a turning tool to a piece of scrap wood mounted on his old Sears lathe. I held that fascination with me well through adulthood. Finally, in 2001, I announced to my husband that I wanted a lathe for my birthday. I immediately joined the local turning club, and like most new turners, I wanted to learn it all and do it all. So I turned bowls, platters, lidded boxes, ornaments with finials, hollow forms, good wood, punky wood—I turned it all. Then I began to decorate it. I carved, sand blasted, burned, pierced, painted and dyed it.

But through it all, I loved the idea of combining art with the functional. But, I didn’t just want to enjoy it on a shelf. That is when I began to experiment with “wearable” art. I first began by making purses in several styles and through several iterations. I then added jewelry. I had seen lots of wooden disks hanging on leather straps, but I wanted to do something different. So I experimented by turning hundreds of disks in varying sizes and beads in varying diameters. I then began to hollow, carve, pierce, paint, and burn them. I particularly liked the effect of woodburning on both my purses and jewelry, and I now regularly use this technique to enhance the pieces.

Through it all, I was enamored with the wood, whether it was beautifully quilted or spalted or filled with voids and bark inclusions. Someone else’s scraps became my treasures—my art, and today, I’m wearing it.

Although my jewelry and purses have taken me into an area of turning where few other go, I still enjoy turning bowls, platters, ornaments, and so on. But I am also excited about the direction that woodturning is headed. During the past few years, we have literally taken woodturning off the dinner table and put it into art galleries. Things are being done on a lathe that were impossible not too many years ago. And a whole lot of ladies are leading the way. That’s where I want to go—to continue to explore new ideas, concepts, procedures, designs. To continue on this adventure called “woodturning.”

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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