master woodturner Edric Florence

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A self-taught woodturner since 1980, Edric Florence continues to use both his innate aesthetic sensitivity to wood and his well-honed professional craftsmanship and experience with innovative techniques to produce unique artistic and functional woodturnings that are sought after by art galleries, discriminating collectors and individuals who simply appreciate the elegance, imagination, beauty and attention to detail in his pieces.

As an ultimate perfectionist, Edric will often self-effacingly admit that he's probably burned - as "expensive firewood" - more of his rejected turnings than any other woodworker employing this difficult yet satisfying technique. It is probably this humble and respectful attitude that has allowed him to experiment without a fear (well, perhaps without too much fear) of failure, and thus to push the limits as to what can be accomplished in this art form.

Saying, "I derive an enormous amount of energy and personal satisfaction from knowing that the wood in the piece I'm creating was most likely destined for the dump, the bark-mulcher's chipper, someone's bonfire or just being left to rot in the woods", Edric obtains most of his raw material from bartering with tree-removal companies, his friendships with arborists and fellow naturalists, and by just being keenly observant and keeping his eyes open on his daily travels through the well-wooded areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania where he lives.

Although Edric won't hesitate to use a stunning piece of redwood burl from a friend in California or a small bit of Australian Eucalyptus for a finishing touch on the lid of a hollow vessel, he is unique among most woodturners in that he obtains most of his material locally, and generally turns the wood "green", rather than buying kiln-dried sized and shaped blocks of trees that are generally available to most woodturners these days. The techniques of turning green wood have a score of imposing challenges, as well as rewards, some of which are explained in the section of this site titled About Woodturning.

Edric creates - in many sizes and shapes and sorts of wood - natural-edged bowls and platters, vases and other hollow vessels, lidded containers, as well as many other unique forms, including the one-of-a-kind masterpieces in his "Oh-My!" series. As a person who enjoys the many expressions of art, be it the simplicity of a vase from the Ming Dynasty or the complexity of an abstract wood sculpture from the 1960's, Edric has tried to push the limits of his work - reflected by his desire to gain insight into the nature of aesthetic beauty brought into reality, and to feel the "soul" of the material he works with.

He has been influenced by past artisans and other cultures discovered during his travels to Asia and Polynesia, as well as the distinctive and natural beauty of his native islands of Hawaii, realizing that those and other influences often steer his thought processes and direct his creative thinking, allowing him to challenge his instincts to extend his talents beyond the usual and - as others have often noted of him - "to see shapes and forms in the raw material differently from what others would envision". Some examples of Edric's woodturning can be found in the Gallery section of this website, along with detailed explanations of the wood used and the particular techniques employed. Edric sells his work through art galleries, juried shows and to individuals across the country and is also glad to take orders for special commissions. Edric has received numerous awards as well as many testimonials for his work.

A few of the woods that Edric commonly uses are black cherry, spalted maple, curly ash, sassafras, red and white oak, yew, dogwood, black walnut, hawthorn, pear, crab apple, Siberian elm burl, banksia (seed pods), thuja species, bigleaf maple, black gum, magnolia, wild plum, rhododendron, American holly, spalted birch, English boxwood, eastern red cedar, persimmon and apple. Though often collected at odd times of year or whenever they might come to hand, Edric notes, "the material that is collected is not always put through one of my wood lathes immediately. Some of it has - or will - lie around for as long as six months before I gain an insight into what it might become or feel the soul of that piece".

Many of Edric's pieces contain incredible spalting and colored patterns in the wood. Although some of this is naturally-occurring and already present in the wood when it is collected, Edric also creates these conditions by his unique process of "brewing" it, wherein a fresh green log is intentionally buried in moist sawdust for at least 15 months or longer. What he is trying to achieve, or force, by this process is the start and then the timed inhibition of the natural decaying process. Keeping a freshly cut log in a moist sawdust pile will sometimes cultivate the type of fungi that create what is known as spalting as well as other very natural, but unusual colors and abnormalities in the grain patterns.

Once the woodturnings are completed and carefully cured over a sometimes months-long process, only environmentally safe, non-toxic oil and wax finishes are applied so as to enhance the natural beauty and colors of the wood. The finishes are then either hand-rubbed or buffed, allowing the warmth and sensuousness of the wood to be felt and appreciated. With proper care and placement in the right environmental setting, one of these exquisite woodturnings will last indefinitely.

You can contact Edric by email at eflorence@comcast.net or by using our on-line Information Form.

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