Mullica Hill woodturner to speak at Salem County Art League

Artistic woodturner and Mullica Hill resident Tony Matteo will guest speak at the League's November meeting held at Friends Village in Woodstown on Nov. 25

The Salem County Art League is pleased to welcome artistic woodturner and Mullica Hill resident Tony Matteo as the guest speaker at its November general meeting being held at Friends Village in Woodstown on Monday, Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and students over the age of 13.

“Besides my wife, woodturning is my passion in my life. I started woodworking in my early 20s building furniture. In my 30s, I found that I needed more to express my creative side woodturning satisfied that need,” said Matteo.

Now in his 70s, the last 10 years have been spent specializing in “segmenting,” which is a process of making rings that are then stacked up to form the body of my vessels. The process is demanding and requires cutting precise wedges to form a circle. A full scale drawing, basic geometry and math are necessary. With this method, he is able to make designs in individual rings by using different colors of wood. No colored paint is used. The work is tedious, challenging, and can take 30 to 100 hours, but the final product returns its own reward through its pleasing shape, design and colors.

The personality and potential of each piece of wood is brought out by the woodturning process. The charm and beauty of the final piece is enhanced by the natural grain, color, hardness, and, yes, even the defects of the wood. Most of the wood Tony uses is “found wood” that was lying in the woods or in the remnants from a neighbor’s tree that was cut down, and, sometimes, from a backyard log pile. He also uses small amounts of exotic woods from Africa and South America.

“My wish is that my work will inspire others to explore woodturning and find the satisfaction and joy that I have found,” added Matteo.

The Salem County Art League meets regularly on the fourth Monday of each month at Friends Village. Adults and students over the age of 13 are invited to each month’s general meeting. For more information about the League, please visit their website, www.salemcountyartleague.org.