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Turning and Learning: Paul Weinberger's Woodshop

By Dave Shombert

Paul Weinberger on the porch of his Weston home, with samples of his work. The vase at right in this photograph received a second place award at the 1998 Mountain State Art and Craft Fair. Photograph by Gerald Milnes. Paul Weinberger with wood vases

He was studying a drawing as I walked up to the shop door, so engrossed that he didn't know I was there. As I stood for a moment and watched him, I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. After 50-some years as a patternmaker, mouldmaker, and woodturner, Paul Weinberger of Weston has the ability to look at a two-dimensional drawing of a complex bowl or vase and easily visualize it in three dimensions. Never mind that it's going to be made of literally hundreds of small segments of wood in several different sizes, or that the final shape will be a graceful curve that sweeps through the squared-off geometry of the segments. He can picture the final result in his mind and anticipate the problems that will arise along the way.

I knocked on the side of the doorway as I entered. "Well, here's Dave," he said cheerfully. His face lit up with a welcoming smile as I walked into the shop. "Morning, boss," I said, as I set my coffee cup beside his on top of the woodstove that warmed the shop.

It was 9:00 a.m., and I had just arrived from Elkins, ready for another day of my apprenticeship - watching, listening, asking why, trying, sometimes failing, trying again. In short, learning everything I can from this master artist and craftsman.

You can read the rest of this article in the Winter 2000 issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.