Ronald F. Fleming | New Beginnings
Ronald F. Fleming

born 1937
Resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Photograph by Bob Hawks

Biography             Statement             Ask the Artist
Ron Fleming is a native of Oklahoma. He is a professional illustrator as well as a woodturner. He's received many awards for his work including the Grand Prize in the 1991 American Crafts Awards. His most recent exhibitions took place at Arizona State University in Tempe, Oklahoma State University in Okmulgee, del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles and the Walter Arts Center in Tulsa. He is active in the American Association of Woodturners and the Wood Turning Center.


Statement

I love nature. For many years I watched and helped my father and grandfather work in wood. Observing and learning, thinking and searching for a way to express the feelings and thoughts I have about nature...its beauty and its passages. Woodturning is a natural way for me to combine my capabilities as an artist and a craftsman.

Whether it is the remains of a burned and charred forest transformed into a statement of "New Beginnings" or a single flower bud unfolding in spring, each piece gives me an opportunity to make a statement about the never-ending rituals of nature's evolution.

Never taking a living tree but using only "given" woods, each transformed piece of wood becomes a captured moment in time of its own existence. Every form gives me a way to express my feelings about the things I see around me and to share these visions with others.


Ask the Artist

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

Most of the time I work alone, but in recent years I have occasionally collaborated with other artists.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I give lectures and workshops for schools, museums and organizations. I teach at craft schools and give private instruction in my studio.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

The most exciting part of creating my work is seeing the end results.

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

The most difficult part of creating my work is the carving process.

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

I try to keep up the current tools & techniques in my work. The technology of woodturning has advanced a tremendous amount in the past ten years.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

I would advise someone just starting in woodturning to attend a hands-on workshop. It is the best way to learn.

Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?

A person can save themselves a lot of wasted time and effort if they will get involved with the AAW or a local woodturning club. They will receive a wealth of information this way.

What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

The scale and the many viewpoints of a piece cannot be experienced through the Internet.


Susan R. Ewing Andrea Gill