Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Brilliant Artist and Friend - Farewell

Last evening a fellow artist and friend passed away! My friend Roger was a brilliant wood turner and made the most beautiful pieces!

I had purchased his work for gifts but always figured I had time to get something for me later...

His son, Steve came by our wine store today to tell me that Roger had passed. I was really pulling for him but it just wasn't enough! And with Steve he brought a bowl made by his father for me. At a time of loss he still thought to bring a friend a piece of artwork that will be dearly cherished!

I thought I would include a write up about Roger that was done last year...

He had a laugh that was contagious and a spectacular personality and even better sense of humour!

 Boy, I LOVE this photo!

Still turning wood long after retirement

By Meagan Pecjak

Roger Bodley is 81 years old, and has been woodturning for 18 years. He has spent most of his life in Belleville, and worked as an engineer before retiring. He is currently working on a smaller bowl that can take nearly a month to complete. Photo by Meagan Pecjak

Even after retirement, Robert Bodley continues to turn pieces of wood into works of art.
Bodley, 81, has enjoyed the retired life for quite some time. Even though he’s getting up in age he still makes his way down the basement stairs each and every morning to his shop where he turns.

“I come down nearly about every morning, for a couple of hours,” says Bodley as he looks around at his wood-filled basement. Although he is still going strong, Bodley admits his age is slowing him down.
“As you get older, you are limited sometimes,” he says.
He continues to turn wood even though he is beginning to struggle with lifting the larger pieces.
“I have to make smaller pieces now, because I can’t lift the heavy ones,” says Bodley.

It can take almost a month for one project to be completely finished. However, now that Bodley is limited to the size of piece he makes, he adds more detail to his smaller pieces.

“It’s hard work, so you kind of have to slow yourself down as you get older,” he says.
He never thought he would catch the woodturning “bug,” as Bodley calls it. He caught it years ago when he was painting mini-soldiers. He realized shortly after beginning his newfound hobby that he needed bases for them to stand on.

Bodley dragged out his grandfather’s old lathe and began to turn the bases for his soldiers. Small wooden bases turned into bigger, more elaborate projects such as salad bowls and Christmas ornaments.

“When you put a piece on the lathe, you have a good idea of what it is going to be like, but you never really know for sure,” says Bodley.

He finds the biggest challenge is the initial thought going into a project.
“It’s unpredictable, and that is what makes it so exciting,” he says.

Woodturning has been a part of Bodley’s family for many years. His grandfather was also a woodturner, and passed down many of the tools Bodley now uses today.

“That was my grandfather’s lathe,” says Bodley, as he puts a hand on top of the machine.

Bodley may have inherited many of the tools he uses but he also manages to make some of his own tools out of items he either finds around the house, or picks up on his travels.
He spent much of his youth, starting at 12, with his grandfather in his shop.
It took Bodley several years to “catch the bug,” but he caught it in the end.

As Bodley says, many women are not big fans of wood, but some do come by and look at his work.
“They like the rustic ones as opposed to perfectly finished pieces. When they see a piece made of ceramic, they think, ‘Oh it’s beautiful,’ but if it’s made out of wood, ‘Oh it’s only wood.’”

Here are a couple of Roger's pieces:

 And here is the beautiful bowl that I was gifted today: You will be missed my friend! Till we meet again...

Thank you Steve!


  1. Your friend Roger created some very beautiful wood pieces and it was so thoughtful of his son to gift you with one.

  2. Yes, he was an extremely talented artist and how truly thoughtful that his son would think of me in a time of heartache! I was sincerely touched.

  3. always sad to lose a fellow artist. looks like he left some beautiful work behind.
    my condolences.