State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Artists Turn Destruction into Beauty

by and on May 26, 2017 5:00 AM

You might say that the director of Boal Mansion, Robert Cameron, was blown away by the generosity of a local group — The Nittany Valley Woodturners.

When a severe storm hit Centre County on May 1, the Boalsburg Mansion property suffered damage. Several trees fell, and it was a daunting job to restore the property to some picture of normalcy. In the midst of evaluating the damage, the Nittany Valley Woodturners offered their help.

The members of the group not only helped to cut up downed trees, they also hauled the wood away. They then used their talents and expertise to turn the wood into cherry bowls, pens and other objects.

On May 16, the group presented the bowls to the mansion. The items will be sold in the site's gift shop.

The Nittany Valley Woodturners is a member chapter of the American Association of Woodturners. According to a press release, the Nittany Valley Woodturners is a group of people interested in the hobby of turning wood on a lathe to produce both functional and artistic objects. The club membership has a wide ranging level of experience — from those who have recently become interested in wood turning to those who have been turning wood for more than 30 years.

The group holds its meetings on the first Thursday of the month in the woodshop of Mount Nittany Middle School in State College. Meetings include demonstrations and hands-on participation. A show-and-tell portion allows members to show what they have been working on and share tips about safety and equipment.

You may have seen some of the Nittany Valley Woodturners giving demonstrations at the Boalsburg People’s Choice Art Festival. The members take turns showing how pieces change during the turning process to account for defects in the wood.  In using the salvaged wood from the Boal Mansion destruction, the men turned damaged trees into beautiful art objects.

According to Boal Mansion director Robert Cameron, “It is just so indicative of the neighborly nature of our area, that the woodturners cleaned up the downed trees, carried them away, made these wonderful bowls and other things and donated them back to the mansion.” 


 A new event to the Boal Mansion this year is the Civil War Ball, scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28.

“You can glide over the floor of the ballroom to the latest dances of the 1800s,” said Cameron. "The Victorian Dance Ensemble of Harrisburg will be on hand to provide Victorian/Civil War era dance instruction.”

Cost for the ball is $38 per person, with museum members receiving a 10 percent discount. The museum staff will provide free entrance to the ball to all reenactors attending. In addition to enjoying the dance, guests will tour the mansion and enjoy refreshments. Costumes are encouraged, but not mandatory, and some costumes may be available for rent.

For reservations, call (814) 876-0129 or (814) 466-6210.


This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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