I had the good fortune of seeing an incredible collection of turned art last week. The Baltimore Area Turners club was invited to attend a drop-in at the home of Dr’s. Jeff Bernstein and Judy Chernoff to see their collection, and what a collection it was.
I have seen really nice pieces of turned art here and there, and the occasional piece by a well known artist, but seeing this collection just blew me away. I remember when I was a young man my father and I toured around Europe and saw most of the well known art museums, and when we were getting ready to go back home, my father ask me what I thought about all that we had seen. I know that I did not tell him what he wanted to hear because I could see some disappoint in his face. But to be honest, I was just simply blown away and I had not yet absorbed all that we had seen and done. I did not know how to put into words what was happening inside. But that trip forever changed my appreciation of art and history. Every time I saw a painting in a book, I could think, “Holy Crap!” I have stood right in front of that work of art. And now I have seen the masters of turned art!
And this is why I wanted to wait a week or so before I wrote about seeing their collection, I didn’t want to blather on like an excited school boy with no formed ideas. So here goes…..
First, I want to thank Dr. Jeff and Dr. Judy once again for opening their home to us. When I walked into the living room, I could not believe my eyes. Now I’m not what you call, “a happy guy” who walks around with a smile, although I am a “class clown”, but seeing what I saw gave me the closest thing to joy I have felt in a long time. Wow!
Dr. Jeff gave us a summary of how they got into collecting and told us about their collection then let us roam around their lovely home to see all the beautiful pieces art. David Ellsworth, Hayley Smith, J. Paul Fennell, Harvey Fein, Ron Fleming, Hans Weissflog, Jacques Vesery, Michael Hosaluk, Betty Scarpino, Mark Gardner, Marilyn Campbell, Louise Hibbert, Graeme Priddle, and many more. Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. My word! What a collection! I had no idea that such a personal collection existed.
So what did I take away from this? I got the chance to feel and see close up the level of skill and craftsmanship that went into these pieces. Being a turner gave me a real appreciation of the skills these artisans possess. And it wasn’t just the turning and carving that impressed me, it was also seeing great examples of what a good finish should look like. The level creativity and variety of styles in the collection set my muse afire. Dr. Jeff was good enough to talk about individual pieces, and Dr. Judy was kind enough to show me their Judaic works too!
Knowing how high the bar is set by these artisan’s certainly makes me want to step up my level work. Of course that is easier said than done, but practice, practice, practice might get me into this collection on day! Some days it is hard for me to get up and get into the shop, but I know that if I don’t work on my art five to six days a week, I won’t achieve my goals. And thanks to seeing that collection, it spurs me on.
Is there a collection or museum that inspired you?