Like father, like son…like grandson. For three generations, the Moulthrops have pushed the boundaries of woodturning. With each wooden vessel, they turned a humble craft into a family legacy.
Originally an architect, Ed Moulthrop was the foundation for his family's success. Ed was chief designer for the Georgia-based firm Robert & Company — his designs still grace the state today, including the Atlanta Civic Center, the Van Leer Electrical Engineering Building at Georgia Tech and the Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens.
But Ed's contribution to the field of woodturning towers above his architectural achievements. Any woodturner will tell you, his vessels were not only beautiful objects, but catalysts for advancing the craft. Ed typically worked with such large pieces of wood, that he designed special hollowing tools for the task — these types of tools are still widely used today. He also pioneered the use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to keep his delicate work from cracking — also still widely used today. Ed passed away in 2003 at the age of 87, but not before passing his passion and proficiencies on to his son, Philip.
Philip has made a name for himself in the woodturning world as an equally innovative artist. His series of mosiac turnings (see Image #3) showcase a relatively new turning technique — bundles of branches are first cast in epoxy, then turned and arduously sanded into glimmering vessels. His work has earned international recognition — in 2004, Philip's art was given as the official gift to the world leaders attending the G8 Summit in Georgia.
Philip's son Matt seems headed towards similar successes. At age 32, his work is already included in the collections of the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Arizona State University Art Museum and Atlanta's Carter Center. To quote his artist statement, "each tree has a story to tell." If that's indeed the case, the Moulthrop family seem to be telling the never-ending story.
Images: Moulthrop Studios