LOMA Wood Studio

LOMA Wood Studio

About The Artist

John Firak • Crystal Lake, IL

John is a self-taught woodturner with a background in film and photography. After discovering woodturning, he quickly became immersed in the craft and has spent countless hours perfecting his skills. He works out of his home studio in Crystal Lake, Illinois, using dead or dying trees from the surrounding area. Whether he is creating a simple bowl or an intricate hollow form, John is constantly pushing himself to explore new techniques and find new ways to bring his artistic vision to life.



Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I use trees that I find near my home. Most often I find discarded logs at two local township dumps. Ideally, I find a whole tree. This lets me create a series of hollow forms and bowls from the same wood. Sometimes I turn pieces immediately, but most often I store the logs outdoors in a shaded area to help spalting develop.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Woodturning to me is about chance and timing. I love the idea that the material is disappearing as I'm working on it and the wood itself determines when to stop. I often incorporate cracks or mistakes in my work and those things influence the final product. I love to push the limits of what the wood will let me do. The thing I like the most about woodturning is the idea that the process is a push and pull between me and the material Through chance and some careful planning, the final shape is always determined by the patterns that are revealed.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

All my trees are sourced from a small radius around my home. I don't use exotic wood ever. All my pieces are named after the neighborhood, street, or location where I find the wood. I also try to make a series of pieces from single logs so that there is a whole family of hollow forms out in the wild.