The Professional Artists of St. Augustine (P.A.St.A.) Fine Art Gallery located on the historic, and often photographed Charlotte Street, is presenting Tina Minahan as the featured artist for the month of March.
During the First Friday Art Walk on March 3, Minahan’s work of lathe and hand-carved wood-turned creations were on display in the front room of the gallery. Minahan was on hand to meet with gallery visitors and customers during the evening.
Minahan’s family moved from Pennsylvania — where she was born — to South Florida when she was very young. She remained a resident of the Palm Beach and Miami areas well into her adulthood when she left for California to pursue a career in the insurance business. Upon retirement she moved first to Tennessee, then eventually to the St. Augustine area.
Minahan’s interest in woodworking started early when she took a course in the early ’70s. Her first project was a stand-alone spice cabinet. Bitten by the woodworking bug, she continued to practice her craft and take classes wherever and whenever possible. Her first foray into woodworking was centered around furniture making, and she quickly became adept at producing classic Windsor-style chairs. During the production of the Windsor chairs, Minahan was introduced to the lathe in order to make the chair’s legs.
Using the lathe, she quickly discovered, allowed her to complete projects in much less time, as compared to making furniture. Inspired by the results of her early lathe work, Minahan jumped in to designing and turning wood bowls, platters and other vessels.
“When you turn a bowl or platter out of wood, you accentuate the natural beauty of the wood, including the growth rings, the heartwood and even the bark,” Minahan said. “Tree burls, which are nothing more than an infection in the tree, can result in some of the most satisfying and beautiful results with whorls and interesting patterns, naturally formed.”
Her process starts with a collection of wood, tree stumps and tree chunks, received from friends, tree trimmers and fellow woodworking club members. Special types of wood are purchased from lumber salvagers. The wood Minahan uses has either come from fallen trees or trees that were taken down for building or landscaping purposes.
Some of the most beautifully grained and colorful wood, like her favorite, box elder, with its red veining, come at a higher price from the salvagers. With a design in mind, she attaches it to her lathe, dons her safety mask and ear protection and begins the steady process of turning the “wet” wood on the lathe. When it has assumed its rough shape, she will let it slowly dry before returning it the lathe for its final turning. When the work is completed, she uses a natural, food safe oil to seal and enhance the beauty of the wood.
Minahan is a member of the American Association of Wood Turners and the North East Florida Wood Turners Association, located in Jacksonville. She has won numerous awards for her work throughout the years and continues to push herself and her art through wood-turning symposiums.
To see Minahan’s work, go to pastagalleryart.com and the gallery’s Facebook page, facebook.com/pastaartgallery.
The Professional Artists of St. Augustine Fine Art Gallery was founded in 1982. Its mission is to showcase local and regional art and to educate and encourage area artists.