Over the many years Nikki & I have participated in the Florida art & craft festivals we have seen some incredible art work & have gotten to know some very talented & wonderful artists. One such couple is Don & Bettye Reagan. Bettye had long been a very accomplished & award winning pastel artist, but for most of Don’s adult life he owned a television repair business & raised honey bees among other things. With Bettye’s urging & encouragement, when most people are considering retirement, Don built his own lathe & began to turn different designs of wooden bowls & other sculptural items. It became clear from the beginning when he started going to art shows & selling his work that he had a gift for creating detailed & beautiful turned wooden art.
As fellow lovers of wood, we began to imagine what he could do with some of the large slabs of redwood & buckeye burl that I had access to. What ensued were some of the most incredible & very large turned wall sculptures that, along with his intricate “treepots”, became his signature pieces. He & Bettye started getting accepted into some of the most prestigious art festivals throughout the U S, selling these magnificent pieces & winning some very nice awards.
Although no longer participating in the art shows, he will on occasion turn a piece when he has a special request. This redwood burl wall sculpture is one he recently created for a previous customer. I ordered the wood for him & from there he did his magic. I’ve always wanted to chronicle the process so these are some of the images from start to finish. When the slab arrived at my store, it weighed 235# & was 3 1/4″ thick. When it was complete it weighed 57#, was 3/4″ thick & measured 62″ x 54″. On one of my trips to Miami I was able to deliver it to his customer who took it back to his home in Naples.
In future blogs I hope to share articles & images of his California buckeye wall sculptures & his “treepots”.