Artwork by Dennis Paullus
I’m a woodturner and carver. I started my woodturning in 1996 when I received a lathe for Christmas. I struggled trying to learn how to turn until I joined a local woodturning club in
Memphis Tn. Since then I have been on a journey of learning and discovery of the woodturning world. I am a product of the woodturning world, I have been taught and mentored by my fellow club members and I have attended many national and regional symposiums.
I turn functional and sculptural work. I have turned many, many bowls and hundreds of boxes, both lidded and threaded. Hollow vessels have become a favorite project of mine too. Carving, texturing and embellishing has also become a big part of my work today. The simple and even extraordinary embellishments can be accomplished with surprisingly simple tools and techniques.
I’m a full time professional turner and have taught and demonstrated at local clubs, regional symposiums and at the national level too. As I start the 20th year of sharing the techniques that I have learned from the woodturning world to my students and fellow woodturners, I find that my passions have not dimmed but burn ever brighter with every year.
An article by Streetseen | Dennis Paullus
Dennis Paullus is a native Memphian who began working with wood when he was a teenager. “When I started high school I wanted a car and some pocket money,” recalled Paullus. “So, I started working after-school and summer construction jobs.”
After graduating from Frayser High School, Paullus said he went straight into full-time construction work. “I was in construction of one kind or another all of my life and eventually I started working with green reclaimed logs to create art,” said Paullus. “When I was 42 years old, I got my first lathe and started working with green wood. What was a hobby 21 years ago, became a full-time profession. Seven years ago I started making my living as a professional woodturner. I enjoy taking reclaimed wood and giving it a second life.”
Paullus lives in the county in Arlington. He said that he spends a lot of his time looking for wood, mostly wood that has come down after a storm. Often people call him when a tree is going to come down. Paullus said, “Instead of being cut down and mulched or hauled to a dump, folks call me to reclaim the wood as art.”
To begin his artistic process, Paullus takes found wood and turns the fresh green wood into bowls and sculptural pieces. Then the items are dried for six to eight months. Next the pieces are finished. “My favorites woods are cherry, maple and walnut,” said Paullus. “Almost everything I work with is a type of domestic wood, not an exotic. Some of my designs are whimsical in shape and I try to bring patterns to life in my work.”
Paullus developed a signature style about 10 year ago that involves carvings and textures as embellishments for his work. He described it as a “tears pattern.”
“I enjoy incorporating all kinds of tactile and visual interpretations that make my work look like it is in motion,” said Paullus.
As an artist, Paullus is often on the road, traveling across the country to teach at regional and national symposiums. There are many woodturning schools, a regional one is the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. He also teaches at woodturning clubs around the country. Other travels include going to art shows to sell his woodturnings.
Paullus, current president of the Mid-South Woodturners Guild, explained, “I’ve been a member for 21 years and the associations with the guild has helped bring me to my current level. We learn from each other and teach each other — then at some point we become the teachers.”
Paullus is also a member of three other woodturning clubs; the Tennessee Association of West Tennessee Woodturners, the Ohio Valley Woodturners and the American Association of Woodturners. He is also a member of the Tennessee Crafts Association, an artisan club.
“The value of these types of memberships is the association with like-minded people,” said Paullus. “Being a part of a group that specializes offers the chance to share techniques and experiences.”