Town of Brooklyn resident Gary Hazelberg  smiles as he holds the epoxy and wood bowl that made him shed a tear.
Town of Brooklyn resident Gary Hazelberg smiles as he holds the epoxy and wood bowl that made him shed a tear.

   After turning a new wood and epoxy bowl on his lathe, town of Brooklyn resident Gary Hazelberg added the finishing polish.

   And as he witnessed the final product, emotions welled-up in him. He shed a tear, amazed at the beauty that emerged from what was once a burl — a tree growth in which the wood grain grows in a deformed manner.

   “I was so excited. I gave a hoot out here [in my wood shop],” Gary said. “... I know it sounds goofy, but ... people just have a creative side; obviously, I have a strong one.”

   Though a burl is typically formed when a tree undergoes stress, such as an injury, virus, fungus, insect infestation or mold growth, and may appear as a blemish on a tree trunk, Gary sees the beauty that can be found within the burl.

   “All the grain gets all [wonky and] it’s not straight anymore, so it’s really pretty,” Gary said. “So then I got to look at it and [think], ‘OK, how do I want to cut that thing?’ … And then, ‘What do I want to make out of it?’ You kind of picture it and you open it up. And of course it’s nature; you never know what you’re going to get … which makes it more fun.”

   Read the full story, including how he learned woodworking and the various creations he has made over the years, in the March 26, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.