Tree to Treasure


More than 50 unique woodturnings by Berry College alum Al Christopher are on display for the first time at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum.  

The exhibition, “From Tree to Treasure: Woodturnings by Al Christopher,” features a sampling of Christopher’s portfolio, and it celebrates and explores the journey of turning raw wood into intricate artwork. His knowledge and understanding of the process are evident, yet his work is approachable for visitors who are unfamiliar with woodturning.  

Christopher began turning wood after he retired in 2004, following a long career in custom millwork and construction. This familiarity with wood behavior and the exposure to domestic and exotic species encourages Christopher to be adventurous in his turning.  In his retirement, he has also participated in and supported building projects on Berry’s campus. The most recent project was a new event facility located on the grounds of Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum named the Christopher Browning Pavilion, in honor of his wife, Becky Browning Christopher and her mother. 

Christopher’s art includes hollow vessels with natural edges as well as carved and painted pieces highlighting the flexible nature of woodturning as an art form. This is the first public showing of his works outside of woodturning symposiums. The exhibition will also have interactive components including a touchscreen showcasing videos of woodturning, and books and documents used by Christopher for inspiration. In addition, the artist will give woodturning demonstrations. Dates will be released for the programs as soon as they are finalized.  

Christopher emphasizes the story behind each project. Each piece acts as a teacher or a lesson for the artist due to the possibilities, surprises and “Plan Bs” that come with working with natural materials. This opportunity for continuous education is one of his greatest motivations behind his passion for woodturning.  

The exhibition is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and runs through May 25, 2019. Museum admission is $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For more information about the exhibit, please visit: http://www.berry.edu/oakhill/

Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Megan Benoit. Photos by Staff Photographer Brant Sanderlin and student photographer Faith Cox.