Firewood Creations: Discovering Nature's Art
Don Brubaker grew up outside of Lititz, Pennsylvania with access to a farm equipment repair shop and all it's fun tools. As a high school student, he worked part time for Grant Heilman, who specialized in agricultural photography. Here he learned the importance of composition, lighting, color, contrast and texture. For over fifty years, Don and his wife, Elaine (Stoltzfus) had lived and worked in northwest Ohio. But now they have returned to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to strengthen family connections.
As an educator for most of his career, Don enjoyed watching students grow and evolve into competent and confident professionals. Upon his retirement, he turned to other creative pursuits, namely wooden boat building, and wood crafting.
Don and Elaine enjoyed the cozy feel of a woodstove, and Elaine declared the chainsaw was his favorite toy. But often during cutting or splitting, he saw colors and textures in the wood that were too pretty to burn. He became more intrigued with wood bowl turning. He found that each bowl inspired the next, evoking considerations of different tools, techniques and materials. Over the years his enthusiasm for wood turning has grown. A typical bowl can take 12-20 hours to prepare, turn, and finish. And each is one of a kind.
Most of his bowls are turned from a single piece of wood. His favorite varieties are yew, mulberry, box elder, and walnut. He also turns “segmented” bowls from multiple pieces and colors of wood. His brand name is “Firewood Creations” which celebrates the unveiling of nature's art. The turner's task is to make the most of what the wood has to offer.
A plain bowl is functional, but a naturally artistic bowl delights the eye and the spirit for decades to come.