Learning the Art of Woodturning

The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) hosted a woodturning workshop on Saturday, November 10 to expose students to this unique art form. The workshop was generously underwritten by Supporting CAST, FWCD’s arts booster club.
During the three-hour workshop, students, faculty and staff learned woodturning techniques from eight instructors, all members of the Woodturners of North Texas (WNT) chapter. Each participant was paired with an instructor and a lathe to create a candlestick.
For Lauren Cunningham, Upper School Art/Art History Teacher and NAHS Advisor, the personalized instruction was one of the coolest parts of the workshop. Students enjoyed the hands-on woodturning experience. “It is really satisfying to turn wood, which could be useless, into something useful,” noted Felicia Pang ’20. Kathryn Steele ’21 said, “My instructor was very patient, and [his] instructions were very detailed. He gave me tips on how to hold the tool differently for specific effects.”
Many of the instructors became interested in woodturning later in life, and they were excited to introduce high school students to woodturning.
Adriana Barker ’19 likened woodturning to throwing clay on the wheel – but instead of using hands, one uses special tools to carve the wood. “I enjoyed the one-on-one teaching,” she noted. “I felt comfortable learning and asking questions, and I got a pretty cool candlestick out of the deal!”
Kaylee Chisholm ’22 noted, “I never would have thought to try [woodturning]. It was truly fascinating, and I hope to do it again one day!”
In addition to the instruction, the woodturners brought a variety of objects they had made on the lathe to show students the versatility of the art form. Objects included bowls, cups, pens and more. Two woodturners also demonstrated how to make bowls and spinning tops on the lathe.
Cunningham discovered WNT this past March at the Empty Bowls fundraiser event. “Some of their members were giving demonstrations on the lathe. I asked them if they ever came to schools and worked with students, and they said yes,” she noted. “they were very excited to work with high school students for the first time. Their Activities Director, John Horn, and I were in communication many times over the last nine months to plan this event.
About the Woodturners of North Texas
WNT was organized in spring 1988 by Larry Roberts at the insistence of his brother from Austin, S. Gary Roberts. Six people attended the first meeting following a mailing to turners in the area. Among them was Clay Foster. The group met at Larry’s house and then for a while in Arlington. The first influx of members came about following a woodworking show in Dallas where the small group turned twig pots all day on Larry’s old Powermatic 90 lathe. After that show, where the club signed up about 30 new members, the meetings moved to Paxton’s Hardwood in 1989.  Since that time the organization has met in several different locations and now meets at the Handley-Meadowbrook Lions Club in east Fort Worth. WNT now boasts more than 100 members.
About Supporting CAST
Supporting CAST provides funds requested by FWCD fine arts faculty to support curriculum-driven enrichment activities. CAST funding enhances the overall educational experience and benefits all JK-12 visual and performing arts student. This year, Supporting CAST granted more than $25,000 to fund enrichment activities for the 2018-19 school year and for hosting receptions for visual and performing arts events on campus. Anyone can join Supporting CAST, visit www.fwcd.org/CAST to learn more.
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.