Enriching lives through art and craft

Embellishing Wood Vessels: Simple Tactile Designs to Elegant Narrative Expressions

October 8 - 13, 2023

J Paul Fennell  ·  jpaulfennell.com

Workshop at a glance

Discovering the creative world of carving and piercing decorative patterns on turned wood forms. Learn and use techniques, tools, and designs.


  • Gain an understanding of the importance of form
  • Learn how subtle changes in the form can enhance the look of the piece
  • Discover simple methods for finishing the bottom of the piece
  • Enhanced skills for carving, texturing, and piercing


  • Various species of wood
  • Rotary hand pieces, micromotors, and power tools


  • Develop techniques for tactile designs
  • Learn basic decorative techniques of piercing, relief and incised carving
  • Create various embellishment designs
  • Construct sample boards of designs to take home for reference

Artist Bio

J. Paul Fennell is a master woodturner who lives and operates his studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. His work resides in many private collections and over 14 major public museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Museum of Art & Design, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fennell is a 35-year member of the American Association of Woodturners and the 2023 recipient of the Professional Outreach Program Merit Award which recognizes the lifetime careers and influence their work has had on other artists in the field of woodturning.

  • J Paul Fennell
  • J Paul Fennell
  • J Paul Fennell
  • J Paul Fennell
  • J Paul Fennell

Workshop Description

In this workshop students will learn the techniques and develop the skills for creating both visual and tactile embellishments on turned vessels. You will learn basic decorative techniques of piercing, relief, and incised carving using various rotary hand pieces, micromotors, and power tools to enhance the vessels form. All embellishing techniques will be available electronically as part of the instruction. The class will focus on the process of laying out designs and how they convey meaning, how to make and creatively use an indexing wheel, and various methods of transferring 2D designs onto 3D surfaces. Open to all skill levels, however some experience in using the lathe and power tools will be helpful.

COURSE FEE: $950  ·  materials list

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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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