Hubbard’s woodworking art will be on display at UWA’s spring exhibition

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Hubbard’s woodworking art will be on display at UWA’s spring exhibition

Artist, visionary and philanthropist Bill Hubbard turns knots into masterpieces

The University of West Alabama will host an exhibition of the work of woodworking artist Bill Hubbard starting February 20th. The spring exhibit will be displayed in the Webb Hall Gallery on campus. An opening reception will be held from 2 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend.

Hubbard has been studying and practicing the art of wood turning for over 20 years. Fascinated by the elegant wooden pens at his craft show, he decided to buy his first lathe. This lathe is a machine that rotates wood on a shaft, allowing craftsmen to create symmetrical designs while spinning at high speed.

This exhibit varies in size, shape, style, and material. Hubbard says his favorite material is wood knots, round, gnarled protrusions that appear deformed. Through honed skill, Hubbard literally turns his knots into his masterpieces.

Hubbard describes the knots as “ugly knots of unknown origin that look like cancer on the tree.” But once exposed to a lathe and a powerful imagination, “there is nothing more mysterious and beautiful than the results of crowbar machining,” Hubbard says.

Among his many works of art are vessels carved from Australian jala burl, mesquite burl platters inlaid with turquoise, and vessels made from catalocks burl with carved ebony finials. A turkey hunter took a 300-pound crowbar from Water Oak in Eppes, Alabama, and turned it into an elaborate artifact about 3 feet in diameter. It is the magnificent centerpiece of his home and is a museum in itself.

Once Mr. Hubbard develops a passion for creating art with wood, especially if he lives three miles down a clay and rock trail into the deep forests that surround the beautiful Cahaba River in Alabama, It suggests that you realize that there are endless opportunities.

As a boy in Birmingham, Hubbard loved nature. He and his family traveled to visit relatives in Bibb County on the Cahaba River. He thus began to be fascinated by the beautiful Cahaba and its reputation for biodiversity. He majored in geology at the University of Alabama. After that, he worked for 40 years in oil and gas exploration as a scientist, involved in the acquisition, improvement and resale of companies.

According to Mr. Hubbard, his profession has been exciting, fun, challenging and rewarding. After his initial retirement, he received a call to become vice president of exploration for a new company, Spinnaker Explorations. He accepted, where he enjoyed acquiring and interpreting 3D seismic data and discovering massive oil strikes in the Gulf of Mexico. But all his work was done indoors at a computer, and the outdoors beckoned to him.

Upon retiring for the second time, Hubbard asked his cousin, a forester, to help him find land along the Cahaba River where he could continue the thrill of exploration. This time we will be exploring rare flora and fauna and rivers. and a quiet place to develop his skills.

Through his foresight and generosity, Mr. Hubbard made a valuable gift of more than 2,000 acres of this precious land to establish UWA’s Cahaba Biodiversity Center. The center will serve as an outdoor classroom and regular field trip destination for UWA students. The university will also coordinate and manage research facilities, creating world-class opportunities to learn in one of the nation’s most diverse ecosystems.



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