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About Me - Patrick M. O'Brien
Artist's Statement

I fell in love with woodturning one summer when I saw the work of Alan Hollar in the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. I have since studied with Willard Baxter and Bobbie Clemons at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, as well as with David Ellsworth, Al Stirt, Doug Barnes, DickSing,Christian Burchard,Cindy Drozda,Alain Mailland, and the very Alan Hollar whose work inspired me. 

In 2002, I began a business called OhBeWood and started selling my work.  In September 2008, I moved to the Lorton Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Virginia, an artists' community with more than 60 studios and several galleries where their works are sold. I left the center in February 2013 and now share a shop with two woodturner friends. We call the shop "Woodfellows." I continue to update on my web site at ohbewood.com and I welcome your comments and observations about the pieces featured.

I annually participated in the Art on the Avenue Arts and Crafts Festival in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria (2014 was my 12th and last year) where I used to rent studio/workshop space from fine cabinet and furniture maker, Jeff Dahlquist.  I am an active member of the Capital Area Woodturners, one of the largest clubs in the American Association of Woodturners. 

In 2008 I retired from the Alexandria Library where I was Director for more than 15 years. I am married and have three grown children.

Artist’s Statement
What I love about woodturning is the way the wood reveals itself as I work. Michelangelo is reputed to have said in answer to the question about how he created his famous statue of David from a block of marble, “I just cut away everything that wasn’t David, and there he was.” I imagine it’s debatable whether or not Michelangelo actually said that, and I am certainly not comparing myself to him, but I feel similarly about working with wood. As I ‘turn” a log or block of wood over and over again in my hands I begin to feel what it might become. Then, as I actually begin to turn the wood on my lathe and the grain, the spalting, and the “flaws” of the wood are revealed, I feel as if the soul of the wood is coming out. In all of my work, I try not to get in the way of the spirit of the wood.