Liz Bergeron, 60, and her husband, Alan Bergeron, 65, both of North Liberty, have retired from the corporate world but are keeping themselves busy creating some highly unique and original ornaments.
These aren’t what you’d think of as your average Christmas ornaments either.
“We primarily make segmented turned wood ornaments from local, regional and imported woods,” said Liz, considered CEO and CWT — chief wood turner — for Whirled Woods Art. “Each piece is unique with a final size of approximately 3 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches long.” She said the ornaments — which sell for $50 or $60 depending on size, complexity and type of woods used — can hang on a tree, in a window, or in a stand on a desk. They use a variety of locally and internationally sourced woods, such as oak, cherry, walnut, maple, yellowheart and purpleheart.
“My husband has over 30 years of experience as a woodworker and has outfitted our house with a wonderful woodworking shop,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve helped with some of his building projects and I learned a great deal about wood from him. He is the engineer and I am the philosopher so our approaches tend to differ but ideally complement each other.”
Liz noted that her fascinating with woodturning turned into her receiving a lathe for her birthday 10 years ago. “The ability to sculpt the wood into gorgeous smooth shapes is what initially attracted me to woodturning and unlike flatwork, turned wood pieces seem to beautifully emerge as you create them, often in surprising ways. It’s always fun to see what’s making all that sawdust.”
Q. How did you get started?
A. Woodworking has always been for fun but friends encouraged us to launch a small business and Whirled Woods was born about a year ago when we both retired. It’s still just a rather addictive hobby — one among many.
Q. If you had only three words to describe what you do what would they be?
A. Making wood beautiful.
Q. Where do you find your inspiration?
A. The woods we use themselves are stunning and distinct — they individually or collectively often inspire a certain shape. Ideas abound in the natural world — a bird or flower may stimulate a new form. We enjoy traveling and are also often attracted to a design element such as Russian onion domes or Nordic design which finds its way into our work.
Q. What’s the best part about being a crafty/creative person?
A. It is wonderful to create a tangible item of beauty, often from discarded scraps. Hopefully the pieces we make bring joy to someone else as well.
Q. Do you remember the first craft project you ever tried?
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A. Many come to mind but one of my first significant projects was making stain glass art pieces with my father.
Q. When you become rich and famous for your work, then what will you do?
A. If fame and fortune do find us, it would be exciting to visit all the places the imported woods come from.