Ted Sokolowski woodturner
“Figure drawing has been such an important part of my artistic life that the sensuous subtle human contours I have studied for years now unconsciously appear in my work at the lathe.”

Born and educated in New York, Ted graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan with a BFA in Illustration. He practiced illustration for 16 years while actively woodworking as a hobby. Ted has studied the human figure extensively through drawing and appreciates the subtle nuances of contour found in all of nature. He now applies those subtle forms within the medium of wood with respect to woodturning.

Ted is the author of 3 DVDs on woodworking: Making a Peppermill – Focus on Design; Making Candlesticks – Seeing the Curves; and Metal Inlay Techniques for Woodturners and Woodworkers. He is a member of the
American Association of Woodturners,
The Lehigh Valley Woodturners,
The Wayne County Arts Alliance and
The Artists for Art Gallery.

Artist's Statement

Picture a drop falling and striking a still pool of water in slow motion. Now visually magnify the ripples. The series of ripples that undulate from the center exhibit a power and a force that is simultaneously gentle but quite disturbing, tranquil but stormy. Without additional drops the pool returns to a glass-like surface.

These ripples are tiny waves or simple sine curves when viewed in a cross section. Simply put….the perfection of form. The above imagery along with the myriad life drawings I’ve completed over the course of my lifetime has brought me to a point where I can embrace simplicity. It’s all about the least common denominator.

Why Peppermills? Simplicity! Form and Function!

Function and beauty can co-exist. You can have a utilitarian vehicle. You can also have a sensuous sleek sporty car with curvaceous lines and beauty to behold. Style!

Cutting and shaping utilitarian objects like peppermills and wine stoppers afford me the quality of line I seek in woodturning. The curves I strive to turn are sensuous and free flowing like ripples in previously undisturbed water, captured in slow motion, a fluid sense of style. I want to instill in my collector a need to hold and touch the piece and to experience the sensuousness.

My art background, from cartooning to illustration and beyond, has made a tremendous impact on my turning style. At first, I tried to apply my limited woodworking skills to woodturning. The results were stoic, stiff and lacking life. Once the subconscious connection between art and woodturning was brought forth consciously, I felt a tremendous release of passion into my woodturning and now am eager to incorporate it into all my functional pieces.

My forms inter-relate with the human figure more and more everyday in a sensuous, aesthetically pleasing, semi-seductive kind-of-way. Figure drawing has been such an important part of my artistic life that the sensuous subtle human contours I have studied for years now unconsciously appear in my work at the lathe. I am continually challenged by the endless design possibilities of the human form combined with the unpredictability of a medium (wood) that varies so widely and incorporates all the natural flaws.

There is a symbiotic relationship that my gouges now have with the simple lead pencil. I don’t “cut” with gouges anymore….I “draw” with them. Scrapers are no longer a taboo tool. They are my “eraser” used to fine-tune the form and finesse the curve into the subtle, sensuous forms I desire.

The  pieces I turn are from hardwood, some native and some from around the world. Adding metallic touches to complement rather than to compete with the wood is a signature of mine. I often inlay with various metals to enhance the beauty of the wood, as well as metal spin and cast metals to complete my designs.

My goal is to create a beautiful,sensuously-made, functional piece that you can hold, use, appreciate and enjoy to pass down through generations. I have a strong desire to add an underlying structure of controlled ripples from that imaginary pool that beholds a sense of life.

After a time, the stillness of the pool returns to a glass-like surface. I am not ready for the stillness to return anytime soon. I keep disturbing the pool to keep it fresh.