ARTIST John Hoffmann

“I have always liked working with my hands.”

As a kid growing up on Long Island, I spent a lot of time building tree houses, forts with my friends and bird houses for my mom.

When I got to middle school, there was a wood shop class and I loved it. In fact, it was the only class I really ever excelled in through high school. After high school, college and a career got in the way and I really never gave much thought to woodworking.

In 1984, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  While going through chemotherapy, a friend asked me if I would like to go to a woodworking class at the local high school.  At the time I was 26, newly married and working in the oil business in Houston, TX.  The class was a good way to get my mind off of my health issues and clear my head. 

From that point on, woodworking has been a big part of my life.  My wife and I moved to Buffalo in 1989.  We had our house built and I spent much of my free time building furniture for it. A few years after we moved in, I was given a wood lathe by a friend.  I had turned a bowl once back in 9th grade shop class, but other than that I had no woodturning experience.  I didn’t use the lathe much for quite a while but eventually I ran out of furniture to make and I started turning bowls.  

A few years ago, I began turning segmented bowls.  I never considered myself to be an artist but this medium has definitely brought out my artistic abilities.  All of my bowls are designed by me.  I don’t work with any specific plans and the designs come from objects and patterns I see in the world around me.  Most of the time making a bowl is spent cutting and gluing all of the pieces.  The actual turning of the bowl once its assembled goes very quickly.