All my life I wanted to be a chef and when I was 14, I started cooking professionally. I was in the restaurant business as a chef/owner most of my life until I contracted a rare neurological disease. Due to the disease, (a variant of Guillian Barre" Syndrome) and after several months of hospitalization, I knew that I wouldn't be going back into the restaurant business. I decided to go back to college and I earned a degree in business administration and started a custom cabinetry business.
Business was picking up when Katrina hit. Upon returning from evacuation, I started doing custom millwork for several mansions on the Gulf Coast. This proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated due to my health limitations and I knew I had to go back to cabinetry or find something else.
I got into woodturning mostly by necessity; I needed work and I owed my parents an anniversary gift (only 4 months late). With no idea what to get them, I decided to dust off the lathe I bought several years ago to see if I could turn a bowl. I pulled a Maple Burl off the lumber rack, a book on woodturning off the library shelf and proceeded to turn my first bowl. My folks loved it , and I really enjoyed making it. Buying and borrowing more books and DVD's, I taught myself how to turn wood, only I do it seated which makes it a little harder than those that can stand.
Some of the woods I use are hurricane salvaged from renovation/construction sites. Exotic burls and rare woods from Australia are also used mainly because it is illegal to cut down most trees, but the burls can be harvested without harming the tree.