Skilled Hands, Warm Heart: Woodturner Eric Reeves

By Claire Larrabee

For accomplished woodturner Eric Reeves, turning exotic woods into magnificent bowls, vases, platters and other objects is only one of his heart-felt passions.

The other is helping those less fortunate. His pleasure in creating and selling his art is complemented by the pleasure he takes in sharing 100% of the proceeds from all sales with humanitarian relief organizations working in greater Sudan.

Reeves’ contributions to the Sudan Aid Fund over the past fifteen years have played an important role in helping to alleviate terrible deprivation and suffering in this ravaged land. He has published and lectured internationally and testified before Congress on the plight of the Sudanese. More information about his significant contribution is available at

As a wood turner, I am continually seeking the perfect balance between the forms I create and the natural beauty of the wood itself. And because all my profits go to humanitarian organizations, I always feel that the more perfect a wood turning, the more beautiful, the more I’ll be able to alleviate suffering with my contributions.

Reeves works relatively small, but the scale allows him to work with techniques like true inlaying of wood and metal in turnings, detailed lamination of woods, delicate finial designs, and hollow-form turning that requires only the smallest of openings.

A Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Smith College, his fascination with woodturning actually started in junior high, when a boring film on Colonial furniture-making suddenly piqued his interest with a segment about working with a spindle lathe – and he had to try it himself. Reeves returned to his boyhood hobby to master the extraordinary technical and aesthetic standards that had developed in the 25 years since he first turned a piece of wood.

Today, he has become one of the woodturning masters, establishing distinct techniques and a personal design sense. The beauty and skill of his work is well recognized and has been featured in galleries across the country who specialize in art woodworking.

He will participate in both the Marlborough and Northampton shows this spring, and looks forward to sharing his passion.