Artist Feature: Troy Sorensen, Soren Woods

Troy lives in SE Minnesota just south of Northfield on 12 acres of woods and grassland. Living in the countryside next to nature and the outdoors is a dream come true for him.  From and early age his Grandfather and Dad taught him the love of working with wood.  He has designed and created many furniture pieces for their home, completed numerous home improvement projects, and building projects (including their current home!). Troy’s first turning experience was with his Grandpa Marv, nearly 40 years ago, as he taught him spindle turning on the lathe to make lamps and candle sticks. Several years ago, his Grandfather (at the mature age of 85) gifted Troy the lathe.  Troy continued to use this lathe for several years until he took a bowl turning class from Jim Sannerud. Troy’s father and he attended the full day class as a Father’s Day gift to each other.  Jim shared his passion of bowl turning with Troy and enlightened him on turning wet (green) wood.  Soon after the class, Troy updated his wood lathe to a new model with more features and power to turn larger bowls. From this point forward, he was hooked on turning utility serving bowls, platters, and mini-bowls.

He loves to experiment with different types of woods from local Minnesota trees. Troy’s favorite woods to work are: Pear, Chokecherry, Plum, Ash, Black Walnut, and Paper Birch.  He has become a wood scavenger collecting wood from family, friends, neighbors, and sometimes Craigslist.  He rescues their ‘firewood’ from a burnt destiny.  All trees felled from wind, disease, or development and he harvests NO trees for the sole purpose of the craft.  When gathering wood from these sources, Troy always offers to create and share a couple of bowls as a thank you for the wood they provided.  He finds joy in giving back to his wood source.  It is also rewarding for Troy to do custom turning from trees or wood that has sentimental value – it provides an everlasting memory for the families or individuals with a connection to the wood. The obligation is ours to preserve and protect the natural beauty of our earth and share it with generations to come!

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As each piece is turned, a surprise awaits inside the wood blank -a treasure revealed in the finished product!  Troy takes a wood log and makes a blank, bark intact, and begins to turn it on the lathe.  With deliberate motions of the tool, the wood shavings flow off the sharp blade revealing the grain and the inner beauty.  The first step is to design and shape the exterior of the bowl, then hollow the inside to a uniform wall thickness.  It then comes off the lathe to a drying rack in his workshop where it dries slowly.  Every piece he turns is natural color – to preserve this beauty the piece is finished with a food safe mineral oil and beeswax. The organic nature of designing, creating, and using a hand turned bowl inspires and energizes him to spend more time in the workshop!  In his new found passion, Troy has now turned almost 400 bowls and over 250 mini-bowls!  He finds joy in observing others hold a piece of his work, seeing, touching, feeling, and smelling the finished piece of nature!

 

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