Archive for the ‘Creative Arts’ Category

O2 Media’s Designing Spaces on Lifetime withJarrett Dornbusch

In Creative Arts, Home and Family, Media on April 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm
Designing Spaces

Designing Spaces

The following segment aired on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Jarrett Dornbusch, a leader in outdoor design. Here, Jarrett allows our viewers a chance to see how he helps fix a couples’ backyard.

Host, David Jones: Okay Debie. How about a trip down memory lane.

Host, Debie Marie: Ahh-oh.

Host, David Jones: Now, don’t worry. We’re not going back that long ago. You visited a home where a backyard got the treatment. Remember?

Host, Debie Marie: Oh okay, yes. And there were fountains and outdoor furniture and a gazebo. You know, we really had a good time.

Host, David Jones: Well, I want you to see this so take a look.

Host, Debie Marie: Okay.

Host, David Jones: Does your backyard look like this?

Host, Debie Marie: Well, if this looks all too familiar, today’s show is perfect for you. We are going to show you how you can transform your backyard by yourself by just going to your local home store. We traveled to Douglasville, Georgia, a small and beautiful city just west of Atlanta. It’s home to the giant mailbox, Jolty’sJava and it’s also home to Amanda and Ryan.Hey guys. How’s it going?

Amanda: (The newlyweds are enjoying life together in their new home with their dog, Samson.) Well, we love living here. We love the house. My favorite room in the house is the living room. I like the columns that are in there. The fireplace, of course, is really nice. It’s cozy.

Ryan:I like the basement. We have a huge bar and projection screen T.V. We watch football games, events like that. It’s fun.

Marie:But although they are happy with the inside of their home, the backyard is a different story.

Amanda: Well, the backyard was defiantly one of the main reasons we bought the house. It was very like you said, open and spacious.

Ryan: We need lots of help back here.

Marie:Amanda and Ryan clearly need help in decorating their outdoor space. And to make things worse, they are planning a party tonight. And, where are you going to put everybody?

Ryan: Well, we don’t know just yet.

Designing Spaces: What would you say if I told you we could decorate this backyard where you could entertain everyone out here tonight?

Amanda: That would be great.

Ryan: That would.

Amanda: Yeah.

Ryan: Do you think we can get it done?

Designing Spaces: I think we can get it done. Backyard decorating is very important because it expands the living area to the home. One of the most popular trends is taking the inside out and the outside in. Jarrett Dornbusch is the head designer for Southern Patio. He has been a leader in outdoor design for over twenty-years. So Amanda and Ryan kind of waited to the last minute, but they are having people over tonight and they want to transform this backyard into an area where they can entertain. So is that something that you think you could help them with?

Jarrett Dornbusch: Absolutely, it is important that we give them everything they need for a party. Comfort, beauty, and functionality.

Designing Spaces: Okay and how would we do that? Like what types of things would you be able to supply?

Jarrett Dornbusch: We’ll, there are a few things, but again based on our trends of Earth, Wind, Fire. I will bring in a water feature. We will use some shade elements for the wind. We’ll use some nice planters and everything for the Earth.

Designing Spaces: They did mention they wanted some color, so that is good.

Jarrett Dornbusch: Yes, and we have a nice fire feature. A fire house, we would call it. And we’re going to set it up and make it a focal point.

Designing Spaces: Now, I know they are waiting until the last minute so they don’t have a lot of time. But normally the regular homeowner can go and get all of these supplies at their local home store. So you guys, this is a big project do you think you can handle this

Jarrett Dornbusch: Well, fortunately I brought a good team with me. So, yes.We are prepared. In here the wind chimes.

Designing Spaces: Jarrett shared his ideas for their backyard. Confident they were in good hands. They left to buy party supplies and to give the Southern Patio team time to work their magic. Jarrett, you did it. You pulled it off. This is beautiful.

Jarrett Dornbusch: Thank you.

Designing Spaces: I love this, now this is the focal point of what you were telling me before, the fire pit. Tell me a little bit about this.

Jarrett Dornbusch: Well, it’s all steel construction with MGo2, which is Magnesium Oxide and fiber glass mixed. It means it makes it fire proof.

Designing Spaces: I like that. Okay, this is great! So when you come out here if it’s maybe a cold night, they can sit down, they can put their feet up here that is going to make it very comfortable out here.

Jarrett Dornbusch: Absolutely. It gives off a great glow! And over here, we have a nice seating area that has one of our crank and tail solar umbrellas, so it’s got solar lights underneath it. It’s a nice night ambiance.

Designing Spaces: That is great. And in addition to that we have another table. They are going to be able to entertain because they were saying they BBQ and all their friends have to go inside. So now they have all this area over here. So tell me a little bit about it. You have a fountain over here, right?

Jarrett Dornbusch: Yes, we have a focus wall over here, which has a wall fountain on it with a concrete look. But everything is fiber glass products back there. We added a lot of color. We concentrated and we added a mixture of textures.

Designing Spaces: Yeah, you can and it really just brings out the warmth and it’s very comfortable looking. I think that is what they were going for as well. And we have another fountain over here, right?

Jarrett Dornbusch: Yes, this is a three tier fiber glass fountain that allows us to have the water feature and the water sound everywhere in the yard because you can hear it.

Designing Spaces: Yeah that is great. Okay, and then we have the gazebo over here. And you have the netting, so you could probably sit out here and not get bit by bugs.

Jarrett Dornbusch: Correct. Because it completely seals off. And it’s got nice water resistant fabric that you could sit out here even in the light rain.

Designing Spaces: And the shrubbery, I love the pots, the planters that you have out here. This is gorgeous. You know they are going to flip when they see this. I cannot wait for them to come home. Oh absolutely, I just hope they like it.

Amanda & Ryan: Oh My God.

Ryan: Oh wow. This looks amazing.

Amanda: I cannot believe this.

Designing Spaces: All in one day. That he did this. Okay, wait until you see this. Isn’t this gorgeous. Look at this your very own bar. Thanks to Jarrett and his design team at Southern Patio, the party was a success. There were tables and lights and lots of seating. The perfect space for an outdoor party. Southern Patio is the manufacture of all the products that you have seen here today. Their product line ranges from patio umbrellas and furniture to planters, outdoor speakers, wind-chimes, bird bath and bird feeders. Southern Patio products can be purchased at most major retailers across the country.

About Designing Spaces on Lifetime Television
The TV show is a half-hour informative series that inspires viewers to make every space count and instructs them on the smartest ways to make their homes more beautiful and functional.  To view a show online, just go to If you have a great idea for a story, or want to be a part of the show please contact LysaLiemer at

About O2 Media℠
Based in Pompano Beach, Fla., O2 Media℠ is a national television production company and pioneer of the branded entertainment industry. Since its inception O2 Media℠ has engaged, entertained and educated viewers with such reputable show as The Balancing Act, both airing on Lifetime Television. O2 Media℠ has earned hundreds of industry awards for revolutionizing the way brands engage with consumers on television. O2 Media℠ provides unmatched marketing value to its clients while producing quality content for its growing national viewership through Brandutainment®. Household brands and blue chip companies alike, continue to depend on O2 Media℠ for effectively communicating their message to consumers.  For more information, visit

The Balancing Act on Lifetime with Giulio Verillo

In Creative Arts, Lifestyle, Marketing, Media, Travel on April 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm
The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Giulio Verillo to discuss his new book.

The Balancing Act: Our next guest has lived quite the life, he’s travelled all over the world working with some of the biggest names in the hair styling industry; Vidal Sassoon in London, L’Oreal in Paris, John Paul Mitchell, and Jaques Dejohn’s in New York.  No doubt a hairstylist by heart but now he adds a new title, that of author.  With us this morning is Giulio Verillo, author of “A Slap on the Back of the Head.”  Good morning.

Verillo: Good morning, thank you for inviting me.

The Balancing Act: I’m glad you’re here, I’ve got to tell you, when I first picked up the book I said “a slap on the back of the head, what’s that?”

Verillo: That means that is how my father used to wake me up every day, not for school but just for life in general.  It was a good slap on the back of the head.

The Balancing Act: Kind of like my dad, you know that slap that says “wake up.”

Verillo: Exactly.  I think we all need a few of those slaps on the back of the heads these days…

The Balancing Act: Let’s talk about your family, you are from Italy, your mom and dad were born and raised there, right?

Verillo: Yes, and so was I.

The Balancing Act: Talk to me about that.

Verillo: Well, I was born in Italy; we came over when I was about five years old.  They had quite the great life but my dad and my mom decided that because of the economy they were going to come here; they were going to give us the American dream.  They gave up everything, the selfishness, you know, everything for them, and turned it all for everything for us.

The Balancing Act: And I know for you it was hard because you were only five when you came to the states and no doubt a new language, new culture, new friends, and I read in your book pretty tough times for you.

Verillo: Yeah, I was bullied quite a bit when I was younger and I didn’t know that I had what they call learning disabilities.  I call them gifts today.  I was diagnosed later on by years with ADD, OCD, and dyslexia and phonics challenges, so I wasn’t the best student.  However, it was rough because, you know, being downed by teachers and being bullied, your self-esteem is pretty low; I had quite a rough time.

The Balancing Act: I can only imagine, but yet you really made it.  You kept moving forward, which you talk about in your book a lot, and you make it to college but yet one day you tell your father—and I’m sure he gave you a slap on the back of the head—that you are not going to finish college.

Verillo: Believe me; I was ducking what I was trying to tell him at the same time, because I didn’t know what was going to come.

The Balancing Act: I can imagine what my dad would have done to me.

Verillo: But, yeah, you know, letting them know that this wasn’t for me, I was trying to think of any excuse to make them proud of me, I’m like “I’ll go in the marines, mate they’ll shake me up.”  That was tough but dad just stood there with that stare that was worse than a slap, that disappointment, you know, your brother is a doctor and what are you going to be now?

The Balancing Act: Oh…

Verillo: You know, change your name is pretty much what he was saying through those eyes (laughs).

The Balancing Act: And then you tell your dad you’re going to become a hair stylist.  I’m going to assume that did not go over well.

Verillo: No, he was probably thinking is there more you want to tell me? But first of all, it was full of pretty girls; who doesn’t want to go to school where there are all pretty girls?  That’s one incentive to get there, but as I did that I knew I had a gift, a gift that I didn’t understand I had before and it came naturally and it was fun and it was addicting, it was—I had a passion for it.

The Balancing Act: And you really became successful, Giulio!  I mean, you really became a very famous hair stylist and successful in your own business.

Verillo: I had so much passion for it that I did it for the love not for the money.  I knew the money would be the applaud for the great job that I’ve done, but my father most importantly, you know, he went from that disgusted look even though he supported me, to that okay, you got it going on.  You’re not your brother, you’re not the doctor, but okay you’re doing well.

The Balancing Act: So we’re accepting now.

Verillo: Yes, I get to keep the last name!

The Balancing Act: You get to cut his hair, too.

Verillo: That was the one thing I thought in the beginning he wouldn’t let me do, but as we got more comfortable, I would tease him as I would cut his hair.  I’m telling him I’m going to make him look like Frank Sinatra, I was going to make him look like this, you know, so we did have some fun time even though he was a very strict man.

The Balancing Act: I know a turning point for you also is when you get married and you have two beautiful boys, tell me about your kids and what that did for you.

Verillo: Oh, having two boys, you know, even though he wasn’t there to slap me, you could feel the slap, like “Wake up, you’ve got two, how are you going to teach them, what are you going to give them like I gave you?  The etiquette, the respect, the integrity, and you’ve got to model that process like I modeled it for you.”  So everything comes back and I took that seriously, too, and that’s how I raised my kids.

The Balancing Act: It’s a great autobiography, what inspired you to write it?

Verillo: It wasn’t a story about me; it was a story about letting people know that through acts of love and life lessons, you can have that journey to success.  No matter what your past was like, no matter how many failures, which I call discoveries, they are not failures they are discoveries and you learn from your discoveries and you can do anything you want when you fall in love with you first.  When you fall in love with yourself you can make it anywhere.

The Balancing Act: To end, I know your dad played a huge role in your life and I know he passed on and in your book you write about seeing him for the last time.  It’s pretty poignant what you did, can you read to my viewers that part of the book?

Verillo: I would love to read it.  I have a chapter here at the end that I’ll share with you: “At the funeral home I was invited to give him a last haircut.  I went in to the embalming room and I found him on the stainless steel table waiting for me.  I cut my father’s hair for the last time, and as I did, I continued to think about all that I had learned from my father.  It was silent, it was quiet, but he was laying there as if he was smiling and I could hear him speaking to me in the sense of ‘I’m proud of you, you’re successful, I’ve done well, you’ve learned everything, go on and teach it to everyone else and thanks for the great haircut.’”

The Balancing Act: Thank you for your time, thank you! Great story, thank you, Giulio.

The Balancing Act is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at

The Balancing Act on Lifetime with Shawn Nelson

In Creative Arts, Home and Family, Lifestyle on January 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm
The Balancing Act Lifetime

The Balancing Act Lifetime

The following segment originally aired on the national TV show, The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television. The featured guest was furniture designer, Shawn Nelson to explain his revolutionary furniture line called ‘LoveSac’.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television host Danielle Knox: I am sitting on this comfortable sofa with Shawn Nelson, a man whose unique vision is revolutionizing the face of furniture today.  The LoveSac is a great piece of furniture. Did you just wake up one day and say ‘I want to make an oversized beanbag chair? What is the story behind it?

Shawn: The whole company started because I was 18 years old and thought it would be funny to make the world’s biggest beanbag.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: You were 18 years old?

Shawn: I went out and bought the fabric, took it home, cut it up and sewed it up.  I started filling it with everything soft that I could find. And when I finally got it done and took it out and used it, everyone seemed to want one.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: It’s interesting because did you ever fancy yourself a furniture designer?

Shawn: No. I actually left the country for two years to go be a missionary, came back to finish university and started using the ‘Sac’ again. Once again, everybody wanted to buy one. So I started this little company and we started selling them out of a van and making them in the basement for three or four years. Also at home shows, boat shows, car shows.  Finally I got an order for 12,000 units at this big trade show.

The Balancing Act Lifetime Television: With no big company behind you?

Shawn: Yes, with just me and my buddies. So we built a factory on credit cards and in order to keep that factory alive when we finished that order, we opened our first retail store at a mail in Salt Lake City in 2001. Since then it’s been a few years and we have 25 locations around the country in shopping malls from L.A to New York City.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: So, you’re in a store and you have the LoveSac, sitting next to a sofa.  Just so people can get an idea of how it flows and fits into a room. Then what happens?

Shawn: In the very first store, it was set up like a living room and people kept trying to buy the sofa. So I spent five years trying to develop a sofa that we could actually carry in stock, deliver it in a box and  it would be really easy to assemble.  I wanted to be able to make all kinds of different furniture configurations and make it machine-washable and that is what we did.  We called these pieces, ‘sactionals.’

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: Can you explain to The Balancing Act Viewers how this furniture works and what the options are?

Shawn:  I am going to show you how it works. I am going to take that chair, change its covers, make a completely different color chair and then we’re going to build some other things out of it as well.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: well that sounds like a tall order. Let’s check it out.

Shawn: So go ahead and have a seat on the arm because people are going to do that. What you’re sitting on is a completely machine-washable chair.  Every piece of this can just be peeled off and changed out.  Actually, this chair was built from just two components.   Three sides and one base make an armchair in ‘sactionals.’

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: Boy that’s awesome! Now, because you have talked about machine washable a lot of times, I’d like to see how we take these off and wash them.

Shawn: And you can also just change the covers if you get tired of a certain color.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: Let’s do it.

Shawn: Just move these cushions out of the way, go ahead and grab that black strap, yank it and now we can take these pieces and build whatever we want out of them.  We can add another piece on, but first we can change the covers.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: Okay, and let’s build something bigger.

Shawn: Okay, with just a few bases and sides, you can literally build anything you want with no tools required, no talent, and you can change the covers as often as you like.  There are lots of different fabrics, colors, whatever you like.

The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television: So where can The Balancing Act viewers find out more information?

Shawn: You can just go to or there might be a store near you. Otherwise you can order anything you want off the website.

The Balancing Act Lifetime Television is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include Live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at

Stephen Pitz | Fine Arts Programs in School Can Help Reduce Student Stress

In Creative Arts, Professionals, Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Stephen Pitz knows first hand about the benefits that arts can contribute to a school program. Being a former educator, Stephen Pitz believes that fine arts must be kept in schools for students. Why? Because according to Stephen Pitz, students who choose to take part in arts and theatre programs grow into more mature and well-balanced young adults. Stephen Pitz is so passionate about fine arts that he is currently pursuing a writing career.
Students who take part in fine arts programs learn how to handle daily stress better, according to Stephen Pitz. Understanding how to handle stress and pressure is a crucial part of growing up. Stephen Pitz claims that arts and theatre programs teach students this important ability.
Fine arts activities also tend to make students more responsible, continues Stephen Pitz. Acquiring the self-discipline to practice an instrument or memorizing lines for a part in the play helps students grow. Stephen Pitz asserts that the skills that come with fine arts are not specifically found in any other subject. Because of this, Stephen Pitz believes that taking art programs out of public schools would cause a serious blow to creative thinking.
Stephen Pitz argues that becoming involved in arts or theatre programs in school is one of the best decisions a student can make. Participating students generally become more mature and trustworthy. Also, Stephen Pitz points out that fine arts offer good-natured fun. Stephen Pitz feels that young people who are able to have fun in an arts-based setting are better able to withstand peer pressure. Because students can gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, they are better able to resist the temptation to give in to negative social pressures, concludes Stephen Pitz.

Mighty Oak Studios :: The Ugly Log

In Creative Arts on December 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm


By Philip P. Stoner

The sun dispersed through the falling leaves like exhaled powder, the dogs romping ahead of me along the creek. It was one of those Man, if I could only capture this in a bottle kind of early fall days. The gnarly mass poked up from the mud bank. My first thought was to pass it by, but something about its stark severity made me pause. We were out in the common area behind our house, scouting for downed, aged wood to put on the lathe. I’d recently started woodturning, and was discovering the joys of uncovering hidden treasure from spinning blanks.

Bernie and Bella—a black and yellow lab, respectively—pounced in along side, excited by the prospect of seeing me in their watery domain. I could see in their hopeful eyes and playful bouncing they anticipated some exotic new game in the creek. I chucked a large stick for them towards the small pool in the creek bend, and bent over the ugly log.

It appeared to have been chain-sawn out of a medium size trunk, and an inexperienced pyrotechnic had tried to burn it while green. One side was charred with wet, ridged charcoal, but the other still looked solid, with the upper third above the water line boasting rows of whitish fan-shaped fungi. No doubt disappointed with its performance in the fire pit, its owner had dumped it into the creek under cover of darkness. There it sat for who knows how long, undisturbed except for the rising and falling of the water, the occasional animal, and the fungi family, pronouncing their conquest with rows of cartilage flags.

It sucked and slurped as I lifted it from its mucky berth.  I thought how nuts I was for taking my time on this thing; that I should let it sink back into its oblivion and find a more promising prospect. But its thin, tough bark, still surprisingly intact under the water line seemed to say “See man, I’m really not so bad; I’ve still got something to offer.”

Bella came swaggering back with the stick, having stolen it as usual from her brother. Her tail determinedly sloshed trails of brackish water side-to-side like a hairy wiper gone askew. She soaked my pants as she circled me, looking up with perky ears, her jowls billowing around the stick with each pant. Totally irresistible. I smiled, and threw it again, this time further into the pool. I had to laugh, marveling at the explosion of competitive energy unleashed on whatever stood in the way of their canine ecstasy.

After hauling the beast up the steep incline of my back yard, I perched it on the deck steps and sprayed it down with the hose. That only served to reveal the true desperateness of its condition. I have to admit I was embarrassed by the thought of someone seeing it there–as if somehow I would be weighed on the scales of neighborly good sense and found severely wanting. “No, I didn’t try to burn it.” “You see, it’s an artsy kind of thing, you’d have to be a woodworker to understand.” “Yes, I know it’s got those mushroom things growing on it. I’m not going to eat them; I’m going to cut them off….”

Call it crazy, call it faith, I don’t care. I’d come this far and I was going to see what that thing looked like on the inside. It’ll either look like crap or something very interesting—nothing in between.

The beastie sat perched vertically on the wooden step for a few days, competing for attention with the respectable logs lined along the fence. After working up my courage by turning a few other respectable bowls, I was finally ready to take on the ugly log.

I don’t know if the bandsaw maker anticipated its capacity for charcoal and fungi, but soon I had clouds of black dust billowing around and chalky chips bouncing about the table as I trimmed off the outside of the log. The blade pulled black streaks down the face of the freshly exposed wood, still masking its identity.

Deeper cuts lifted the black veil, titillating with shades of coloration and lines running through its spalted fibers. I bridled my enthusiasm and mounted the bowl blank on the lathe. The wet wood turned smoothly and soon revealed its intended form — a small bowl with simple, classic lines. Turning the outside of a bowl is usually when a turner determines its essential shape, forming the pattern for its interior. There is no real science to this. You slowly cut away the waste, watching the emerging form on the horizon of the spinning wood until it seems right.

It helps to have a sense for curves and proportions, of course, but mostly it’s subjective, as is all art. No doubt one man’s art is another man’s firewood, and that’s one of the things I like about turning. Its personal. All fine woodworking is, and I enjoy it all, well, except for sanding. But who does? OK, I suppose there could be a nerdly sanding hermit tucked away somewhere, perched on a stool surrounded by cubby holes neatly stacked with every possible grit of sandpaper, happily lost in a fog of sawdust. For most of us, though, sanding sucks, but I digress.

I think it’s this process of personal expression that catches the turner’s imagination. The variables of movement, moisture, grain, color, texture, form, speed, and the dynamic of tool on wood, combine to create an addictive mystique. Traditional woodworking offers its own world of wonder and satisfaction, but it is much more linear, mathematical, and left brain. Turning is more conceptual, and while a specific object is usually in mind, the true possibilities emerge when the tool is on the wood, rather than from a set of drawings. Design happens before furniture construction (at least it usually works better that way – ask me how I know this!), while many times the creative process of turning itself reveals design. (There are certainly turnings that result from plans, but production turning is not what I usually do.)

Mounting the other half of the log, I worked its outer shape, this time watching a more unique shape emerge. It was tightly convex, rounded out from lip to bottom and then curving back out at the base. This piece seemed to be even more striking in tone and texture. After reversing the bowl and chucking the tenon, I carved out the inside, carefully paralleling the external curve, undercutting the rim. When that was complete, I turned the bowl again with the interior against a vacuum chuck and finished the bottom by cutting a cove in the tenon’s side which blended with the opposite curve of the bottom of the bowl. And there it was: an intriguing upside down mushroom cap perched on a flared foot.

After a few days of drying into a slightly oval form, the mushroom bowl pronounced its final shape: a one-of-a-kind, slightly funky, profoundly caricatured piece, yet attractive in a quirky way.  And the closer you look, the more intense its variegation in color and grain. On top of that it has a sort of magnetic resonance about it, but maybe that’s just me. I suppose that’s the nature of the creative process, a DNA interchange between the creator and the created. A soulish melding between the substance and its shaper, the result of which would not otherwise exist. A process of removing everything except what is essential to its true form, arriving at something more wonderful and inherently “right” than could ever be seen in its prior state.

What was ugly, abused, scarred, and discarded, now appears in authentic beauty, secure in its revealed identity and purpose. And while its form appeals, for those who know what it once was, it offers far deeper meaning: wonder, hope, and purpose. Something about the process moves me, synching with my own sense of “shapedness.” A primal sense of purposeful movement toward destiny; stirring a hope for beauty and meaning. A sometimes wavering, yet growing security in the purposes of my Maker. With practiced hands and skilled eyes He applies unyielding truth to my spinning life, removing everything that is not essential in order to reveal His own image in my authentic form.

I think of Jesus, who was a woodworker by trade. I wonder what it was like for Him to handle and shape into utilitarian objects the substance He Himself had created and that one day would lift him up towards a darkened sky.  He taught profound truths from everyday objects. Perhaps one day by the shore of Galilee he might have begun: “The kingdom of heaven is like…an ugly log.”

Phil Stoner’s love for nature, travel, good food, music, art, and craftsmanship were inspired by his years growing up abroad in other cultures. After leaving an executive position in publishing, he completed a Master’s Program in woodworking at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. To view his work, visit The Ugly Log © 2006 Phillip Stoner. All rights reserved.