by Josh Carpenter

LINCOLNTON – Woodturning isn’t something Bob Hodges thought he’d ever get involved with.

In fact, it took some prodding from his wife, Vivian, before he would even think about it.

But eventually, the 79-year-old Lincolnton resident took a liking to the craft.

More than 25 years later, he’s glad he did.

“I just started piddling with it, turning a little bit more here and there,” Hodges said. “I ended up building a shop, ordered some equipment and here I am.”

Hodges began woodturning projects sparingly back in 1985, but took it until 2009 for him to start up on a regular basis.

That’s when Hodges’ took a class from renowned woodturner Stephen Hatcher.

“I wasn’t really satisfied with what I was doing before that,” Hodges said. “I was doing the typical woodturning, but that class really did a lot for me.”

Now, he can be found in the shop behind his house on N.C. 150 almost every day.

“It’s can be pretty time consuming,” Hodges said, noting that some objects can take as many as 35 hours to complete. “But it’s well worth it.”

One of his proudest creations is a set of offering plates he crafted for First Baptist Church in Lincolnton, which includes an inlay of the church steeple in the center.

“That was a really nice success,” Hodges said. “But I really like them all.”

Lincolnton resident Don Olsen has been woodturning since junior high school in 1952 and has taught classes at the Icehouse Center for Craft and Creativity in Davidson.

He’s also hosted art exhibits at the Lincoln Cultural Center.

And over time, he’s become somewhat familiar with Hodges’ work.

“I think it’s very beautiful and imaginative,” Olsen said. “There are other people doing that kind of work, but not in our area.”

Olsen said woodturning is an emerging art form. Not only locally, but internationally.

He’ll participate in the Denver Art Trail on Oct. 20-21 as one of six new entrants to the event.

But entering his crafts into events is nothing new to Hodges. He’s also had work featured in the Lincolnton Art Crawl and the 2011 Lincoln County Apple Festival.

“I’ve pretty much sold out of most stuff,” he said. “For only attending festivals for about a year now, I think we’ve been doing pretty well.”

The Woodturners of Lincoln County will host an exhibit in the Lincoln Cultural Center on April 8, 2013.

Want to go?

The Denver Art Trail was created in 2006 to promote artists in eastern Lincoln County. The trail features artists specializing in painting, woodworking, photography and more. A preview for this year’s trail will be held Oct. 1-19 at Lake Norman Flowers and Gifts, 1891 N.C. 16 N., Denver. The trail takes place Oct. 20-21.