Day 47: Woodturnings at Yale

2013 ITE Day 47, Friday July 19. We get up early for the 4-hour drive to New Haven as guests of the Collectors of Wood Art, to join their summer event. We assemble for lunch at the Yale University Art Gallery, and later we will tour its gorgeous installation of Conversations with Wood: Selections from the Waterbury Collection, guided by the collectors themselves. But first, we get another treat: curator-guided tours of the university’s famous furniture study collection and of the newly renovated and expanded art museum itself. Curators Pat Kane and John Stuart Gordon were excellent guides, generously sharing their time and expertise as well as their enthusiasm.

My camera got stuck on the turned elements of colonial and Federal American furniture, as you’ll see in a moment.

The Yale study collection includes more than 1,000 pieces of furniture and wood art from the 16th Century  through today. It is packed into a gymnasium-sized basement, arranged in neatly tiered rows of chairs upon chairs, desks with desks, tagged with accession numbers and mostly not behind glass. The entire study collection is open to the public by appointment, it’s free, and the curators will facilitate close examination of any pieces you want to study. They give tours and will even open doors and drawers. 

The collection includes many wonderful examples of contemporary turning and wood art. It has been given the pick of notable collections including those of John and Robyn Horn, Irving Lipton, and Ruth and David Waterbury.

I knew the ITE would be an opportunity to see excellent examples of classical woodturning. I’m interested in the basic vocabulary of traditional turning, the forms and details that fall readily off the tools and wood and go well together, and I like to take advantage of museum visits to gather snapshots I can study later. The Yale visit was a whirlwind in a gold-mine, I’ve visited before and am certain I will go back. For the turning aficionados on what is, after all, a blog centered on woodturning, here are a few of the elements that caught my eye (and yielded a decent low-light pic).



















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