Our Sugar Hollow neighbor, Fred Williamson, bowl turner, has the distinct honor of preserving the existence of a Tulip Poplar tree planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA. The 115-foot-tall tree was cut down in 2008 because the root system had been compromised and it was in danger of falling on Jefferson's home. Happily local artisans such as Fred are preserving the historical wood by creating beautiful bowls and other artistic pieces.
Monticello's director, Peter Hatch, is pleased to have Fred work his magic with the historic poplar wood. The Monticello Foundation wanted to preserve as much of the wood as possible and what better way to do that than to turn it into exquisite artistic objects. Fred's bowls are almost paper thin and whenever possible include the marbling of the tree.
A self-taught woodworker since 1971, Fred has worked exclusively turning bowls since 1996. Fred and his wife, Mary live on 9 wooded acres in Sugar Hollow where Fred also has his shop and studio. They enjoy a natural, rural lifestyle in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Of his work and passion Fred says, "I get a great deal of satisfaction from using all local and native woods, from staying close to home, and from creating objects of beauty out of rough materials."
Fred's Monticello Tulip Poplar bowls may be purchased at the Monticello Museum Shop
(ph:434-984-9840), or by contacting Fred through his website. Do not tarry, Fred has only enough of this precious wood to create 200 - 250 of his exquisite bowls. They will be purchased quickly by those who appreciate fine art and the living history of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson.