Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD

Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD
(Part of the Doctors and Crafters collection)
This gastroenterologist fell in love with woodturning and eventually purchased a lathe and took over part of her garage to create a workshop for her work.

Table of Contents

Tell us a bit about you, the human behind this craft.

I am a Gastroenterologist who lives in Ohio with my husband and three kids. I have always been interested in creative hobbies – I have taken pottery and art classes over the years. A nurse at work talked about her recent experience with a Woodturning class, which sounded so very interesting.

We started taking introductory classes at the local club together. I just fell in love with this craft and eventually took over part of the garage as a workshop after purchasing a lathe myself. I particularly enjoy making bowls and other hollow vessels from local downed trees.

I eventually started selling my pieces locally at Craft shows.


Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD


How fascinating about using downed trees. How do you collect the wood? Do you have help?

Wood comes from a variety of places. We have a wooded lot with a park adjacent to us, where my husband often helps me with the chainsaw to cut pieces into manageable size. I also often get wood from neighbors or colleagues who know about my hobby.


Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD


What exactly is a lathe, for those of us who don’t know (most of us, realistically)?

A lathe is a motorized machine spinning material about an axis so it can be worked on. In this case I attach the wood and shape it with sharp metal tools at high speeds first. It is then also used to sand and polish the piece at lower speeds.


Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD


What is it about bowls that make them most enjoyable to make?

I enjoy making bowls and other vessels as it does not have to be very precise and allows for artistic freedom. This compares to other types of woodturning, such as crafting four identical table legs.


Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD


What is the most exciting part of selling pieces at a craft show?

The most exciting thing about selling my pieces is the fact that folks actually want to buy them!



Does your family get involved with either the making or the selling of the pieces?

My husband is involved in this hobby as he helps with transporting and cutting logs into appropriate sizes, My oldest son is eager to learn as well. He is now finally old enough to take classes. Most clubs who teach this skill have age limits due to the safety concerns of wood spinning up to 2000 rpm.


Any fun or interesting stories from making this art?

One unexpected benefit of this hobby is that it also supports my other pastime, chicken keeping. The wood shaving created make for excellent bedding.


Do you sell online at all? If so, where? Have you done any marketing?

I have participated in one craft show thus far. This was a great opportunity to tell people more about woodturning. With schools abandoning wood shop, many visitors had never heard of a lathe. I do sell my pieces online. I have a Facebook page – www.facebook.com/Guts-and-Glory-Woodcraft-103593361362711 –  and a minimal website, https://meiercb.wixsite.com/mysite.


How much for a bowl cost, on average? 

Prices vary depending on size, but I probably do not charge enough. I also do not promote much. Maybe once I retire?


Working Wood: Carmen Meier, MD


Do you find that woodworking helps you be a better doctor in any way?

I believe hobbies in general allow physicians to be better at their daytime job. We all need an escape from the day to day to minimize burnout. Creating something useful and beautiful from scratch certainly helps me get away from it all. It also allows me to meet people from very different walks of life.


Can the bowls you make be used to eat out of? Or are they solely decorative?

Bowls can be used for eating, but are mostly decorative as they need to washed very gently.


If you win the woodworking Oscars (let’s just pretend it exists), who would you thank in your speech?

If I were to every win an award I would certainly thank my husband for making it possible to escape into the garage for a few hours at a time.


Where can our readers find your wood creations?

Right on my website, https://meiercb.wixsite.com/mysite.

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