Lou Pignolet UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL HAND MADE WOOD BOWLS
from CHEMISTRY to WOOD via HAWAII
For 38 years I was a chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I have always had an artistic interest in wood and became inspired by the beautiful lathe turned bowls in Hawaii during a camping vacation in 2005. In 2006 I explored wood turning on a foot-powered spring-pole lathe in a course at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, and soon after I purchased a power lathe and turning tools. I learned by trial and error and advice from wood turners in Hawaii. In 2008 I retired from my teaching and research career, moved full time to our "cabin" in Hovland with my wife Inger, and now spend a good part of my time turning wooden bowls in my wood shop on the shore of Lake Superior. Several of my bowls were selected for display for the King and Queen of Sweden in 2012, and in 2016 two of my bowls were selected to be part of a major exhibit on the Hidden Art of Trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I love the challenge of turning odd shaped pieces of wood with dramatic bark and spalting. I feel I am a conduit for salvaging old pieces of wood and bringing out their natural beauty and charm, to be enjoyed by generations of people. I especially enjoy turning bowls from local wood, especially gnarly burls. My wood turning is a great extension of my career in science and provides continued satisfaction in adding beauty and inspiration to this world.
Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking, and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science. If what is seen and experienced is portrayed in the language of logic, we are engaged in science. If it is communicated through forms whose connections are not accessible to the conscious mind but are recognized intuitively as meaningful, then we are engaged in art. Common to both is the loving devotion to that which transcends personal concerns and volition.- Albert Einstein, 1921
Click HERE to see a short video produced by a local TV station in 2018 that shows Lou turning a bowl and telling his wood turning story.
You can hear an informative interview about my bowl turning in July of 2015 by our local radio station (WTIP in Grand Marais, MN) at this link.
Photo of Lou turning a small bowl during a demonstration at a Crossing Borders Art Tour in 2008
I learned wood turning at the North House Folk School. This craft school changed my life and is a main reason I started this new career. Here is a link to a great video about the school and about the part of the world I call home.