For woodturner Barbara Dill, coming across a fallen tree is like stumbling onto a pot of gold. The Rockville artisan uses walnut, cherry and maple wood to create bowls and hollow vessels such as flower vases, platters and candlesticks. Her latest creations are goblets featuring asymmetrical curved stems.
Dill came to woodturning in 1987, a year after moving to Richmond. Then a psychiatric nurse, she saw a picture of a wooden bowl as she flipped through the pages of Smithsonian magazine.
"It was the most beautiful bowl I'd ever seen," she says. The next day she discovered Henrico Adult Education was offering a carving class. "I became a part of that class and fell in love with wood."
Two years later Dill left nursing and took courses at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a well-regarded craft school known for its woodturning program. "I came home and bought a great big lathe," Dill says with a laugh. "Ever since then I've been making items to sell."
Dill's work is sold through Crossroads Art Gallery and at the Goochland County Farmer's Market in Centerville. She also participates in the Wachovia Securities Craft & Design Show and teaches woodturning at her home studio for the Visual Art Center of Richmond.
Dill's art ranges from $50 to $800, depending on the variety and quality of the wood and the size of the piece.