Bob Hawks | Longitudinal II
Bob Hawks

born 1920
Resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Biography              Statement              Ask the Artist
Bob Hawks celebrated his 75th birthday in May, 1995. A Hiawatha, Kansas native, he now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he ran a commercial photography business from 1949 to 1985 . His artwork was featured in the show "Woodturning Vision and Concept II" at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1990, and has been seen at various venues throughout the country.

At present, his pieces are on exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum and at galleries in Kansas and Texas.


The turned piece "Longitudinal" is a result of experimenting with colors and design in an attempt to make a piece that looks like it could lift off. I prefer forms that appear to be light and have some motion in the design.

Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

When I first started turning wood some of the ideas came from variations of the bowl designs used by the Navajo and other Pueblo Indians in making their vessels. It seems to me that their designs were classic and nearly perfect. In the last few years I have started making pieces with original designs which have movement and the visual ability to lift off their bases. The piece in this collection is one of the first of that series.

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

I always work alone.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I do not do any formal teaching, but help beginners get started with the technical and design part of turning.

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

The most exciting part of turning is to develop a new design and be able to interpret it is wood. Also, it is exciting to cut down a tree and transform it into several pieces of art.

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

Wood has some strength limitations and some designs will take it beyond its capabilities.

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

The basic technique of wood turning is the same now as it was 100 years ago. However, the equipment and tools have improved a great deal in the last 25 years.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

Learn the basic techniques and then start developing your own original designs.

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?

Woodturners are great at sharing their ideas and techniques. Some of the more experienced turners teach and demonstrate. I made the mistake of teaching myself to turn. I could have saved a lot of time by getting some instruction at the beginning.

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

The wonderful aromas of the various woods that are released as the turning is done particularly on green wood and the variation in the sound made by the piece as the tools cut it thinner and thinner cannot be experienced except at the lathe. Spectators are amazed at the size to weight ratio as a well turned piece is usually lighter than it appears.

William Harper Anne Hirondelle