Joe was born in Moline, Illinois and grew up on a farm outside Woodhull, Illinois. He had a passion for woodworking from an early age. On the farm there was always wood and tools available for experimentation, and he was introduced to the wood lathe at age 12 by a friend of his father’s. He was immediately fascinated at seeing a block of wood spinning at a high rate of speed and the wood chips flying. His Dad’s friend showed him a few basic cuts and he was instantly hooked; he went back to turn whenever he could. Joe enjoyed it so much that he bought his first lathe at age 14 with money saved from a part time summer job.
As an adult, Joe bought a shop full of wood working tools and started building furniture and cabinetry. After hobby woodworking for over 25 years he met Steve Sinner and was introduced to turned wood art. Joe had never looked at anything made of wood as art before, and after seeing Steve’s work, he wanted to know much more about it – the technical aspects of turning, from start to finish, to allow him to produce quality turnings. Joe learned many skills and techniques under an apprenticeship of sorts with Steve.
Joe’s passion for wood has now turned in an artistic direction. He primarily focuses on hollow vessels using native Midwestern woods such as walnut, cherry, hickory, and maple. He also enjoys incorporating acrylics, bone, and pyrography into some his work. While Joe has his own studio and works on his own, he also continues to work with Steve Sinner. In Steve’s studio they work together on collaborative pieces that they have shown in galleries and juried art shows.