Larry Turner never knows what will result from the work that he begins with a piece of timber; the only thing he is certain of is that it will turn out as the Lord wants it to be.
Turner, of rural La Monte, has been handcrafting bowls for more than a decade, each one unique and a work of art.
“You never know what the good Lord puts in a piece of wood,” Turner said humbly Saturday morning at the State Fair Community College 12th annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show. “I can’t ever see it when I start on a piece but I just keep thinking that I’ll master what I am doing someday.”
Turner and his wife of 63 years, Ola Fay Turner, have participated in every craft show the college has sponsored but he said they were beginning to get too old to travel to many of the local events.
“We used to go to a lot more shows, but we have slowed down some in the past few years,” Turner said. “We always come here and we do the Show Me Crafters show and the one down at Warsaw but that’s about it anymore.”
Turner, who gave his age as “70 something,” said it takes an old man like himself a long time to get around, which was part of the reason the couple have decided to limit the amount of craft shows they attend each year where Turner sells his bowls and his wife sells afghans she crochets by hand.
The bowls are shaped from a piece of wood on a lathe before Turner does the handwork and applies the finish to the bowls.
“I never stain them,” Turner said. “It’s whatever color the Lord gives them that I keep.
“I do make a lacquer from Walnut oil and bees’ wax that I use on some of them,” he added. “Some I don’t do anything to and I just keep them plain.
Turner has been experimenting with using turquoise and copper to fill voids in the wood on some of the bowls.
He explained that if there were knotholes or splits in the vessel he could apply a powered form of turquoise or pieces of the stone to accent the piece.
“There’s a method to use copper and acid that gives the bowls a patina to them,” Turner said. “I’m not too sure if I like them, but a lot of people seem to so I guess I’ll keep making them.”
Turner said he could make as many as 100 bowls in a good year, many of them coming from wood from his property.
“We’re got a lot of timber on our property and a real nice creek,” Turner said. “A lot of the wood that I use I get from here; we had a humongous pecan tree that I think I got 30 bowls from when it finally came down.
“I don’t have a favorite shape or anything like that, there’s just a design in my brain,” Turner added. “There is always something in my mind and I don’t think I can ruin it I just have to change the pattern and make it into what the Lord has put in there.”
Turner said if the piece does not turn out as he would like it was not a problem because the couple heat their home with wood.
“If it isn’t what I think it should be, I toss it in the fire and I’ll start on another one,” he said with a laugh.
Turner spent most of his life farming and raising dairy cattle. He and Ola Fay also worked at the Sylvia G. Thompson Residence Center in Sedalia for 12 and 13 years, respectively.
Although he considers himself retired, Turner said there are two things he still works on at this stage in his life.
“I have my woodworking and my music,” Turner commented. “I’ve been playing guitar for 65 years now and I still enjoy working with both of them.
“A person never knows where life will lead you,” Turner said. “I know my path has been blessed though.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484