I began turning wood in 1987, as a form of stress relief. It was wonderful to be able to start and complete a project in the same afternoon. Soon of course, there were more finished pieces than I knew what to do with. So I then began selling in local shows. From this point, the progression followed a natural course; to regional shows such as Sugarloaf and Atlanta. In 1993 I progressed to national shows (ACC Baltimore and Buyers Market), and in 1995 the decision was made to pursue turning full-time.
For 20 plus years I was a Dairy Queen owner…or should I say the business owned me. During all this time I worked in wood as a hobby, building many projects such as a desk, end tables and even a flint lock rifle. While all of this work was satisfying, it failed to fill an inner need to create. When I discovered the lathe, it became the fulfillment for my desire to create.
Turning became an area of woodworking I wished to explore as much as possible. To this end, I have gone in many directions - workshops with many of the world’s great turners, regional, national and international symposiums and one-on-one workshops in both England and the US. While studying and learning from others I also have been teaching, demonstrating and leading workshops on a local, regional and national level. Along the way I co-founded and was the first president of our local club, the Blue Ridge Woodturners.
What continues to drive and motivate me, keeps me going to my workshop each morning? It’s the wood! Each piece is so different; it has a look and feel all its own, with an infinite variety of colors and textures. To see the shape emerge out of a solid mass is a wonder to behold each day. The other part of the turning equation is the quest for perfection in line and form. A piece needs to look right, to be in proportion and balance with lines which flow and merge to form a pleasing whole. The touch and fee of a piece is equally important. That warm, silky, sensual feeling is provided by a well-turned and finished piece. One of my greatest joys is the smile of people’s faces when they pick up and handle my work.
-- David Yeatts, Woodturner