Artist Statement

Jerry believes strongly that his responsibility in being given a beautiful piece of wood is as a display artist, finding the shape that most celebrates the soul of the tree. Wood is meant to look like wood; the form must maintain that belief of mine. Whether turning bowls or building furniture or cabinets, this has always been true for me. The grain of the wood comes first, my design flows from that. Jerry’s fascination with form grew out of a love of the sea; waves and wind are a constant source of inspiration. His joy in turning is in his never-ending search for the perfect shape married to the grain and character of the wood.

We have a love affair with trees; their continued growth is as important as the joy of turning. Jerry searches out recycled trees and logs from sustainable harvesting operations. Each piece is hand-carved on a lathe, using the grain of the wood and its character traits as guides. The vessel is rough turned to ½" thick, allowed to air dry for many months and then finish-turned to a thickness appropriate to the design. A stitching technique developed by Jerry is included when appropriate to the function and the form, and the bark is reinforced with glue. After he sands to 1200 grit and applies a coat of Danish oil, Deborah burnishes with steel wool and carnauba wax. In this way the tree is allowed to extend itself beyond its rooted existence, through our hands into yours.

— Jerry & Deborah Kermode


The pioneering artists in the field of contemporary woodturning were responsible for an aesthetic in which the forms of their bowls were designed to celebrate the natural beauty of a particular piece of wood. The resulting works gave birth to a new art form, elevating the turned wood bowl to an object of contemplation equal to sculpture. Over the decades, this aesthetic has given way to contemporary works that are overly tricky and clever. Although much of the sculptural work being created today is important in continuing to redefine the field, something has been lost in the move away from fine bowl forms in beautiful woods. I believe that we’ll see a “neo-classical” movement in the woodturning field in the future, which will bring balance to the field, and that Jerry Kermode is among those who will bring it about.

— Kevin Wallace, Director, Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts