Master woodturner Bill Benzur is an Atlanta native. All of his works are created from native Southern species. Under his creative hands, fallen or downed trees that would otherwise find their way into a chipper or landfill become beautiful pieces of fine art. “Every time I put a piece of wood on the lathe, it’s like opening a present on Christmas morning. ‘What’s inside?’, I ask myself. As I work the wood more and more, hidden features and sometimes even the history of the tree itself are revealed. For example, while turning a piece of ancient cypress from Burke County, Georgia, I encountered an old bullet lodged in the wood.”
Bill creates simple, organic shapes, usually from wood that has begun to decay and spalt. Spalting is a condition which results from infections of the wood due to various forms of fungi. Blue-black lines occur in wood when competing colonies of fungi encounter each other and put up barriers to separate their territories. Spalting creates dynamic and exciting color contrasts in an otherwise ordinary piece of wood.
Harvested logs are placed in his backyard “spalting garden” and are allowed to season for months to enhance the inherent color and figuring in the wood. While some of his inventory of logs comes from contractors clearing building sites, storms and high winds provide a consistent supply of wood for turning
A graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Bill has worked in the pulp & paper industry, manufacturing and construction materials industry for the past 37 years.