Winter, Helga

Studio Address: 1124 Van Ness Street, Port Townsend
Phone: 360-385-3722
Media: wood, repurposed books

Past exhibits and events with Northwind

2017 Art in the Library | 2014 Art and the Word | 2014 Earth Matters | 2013 Coming Unbound

Artist Statement

I hand turn unseasoned Pacific Madrone on a wood lathe. Green Madrone, a wood that is unpredictable, is my favorite turning wood. As the wood dries – after it has been turned – warping occurs, allowing the wood to take back its own shape after I had turned it into something momentarily round. The drying process is delicate; referring to a sense of mystery, balance, the fragility of life and a sense of movement.

I make objects with materials that I respectfully harvest, utilizing the trunk of the tree, branches and roots. I make use of trees that have been felled because of storms, disease or construction. People leave salvaged, local woods in my driveway and share stories about their tree.

I create objects that are pleasant to be with, invite to be touched, held and inquired. The process of my work is self discovery. The pieces are felt and become known to me – only to be discovered anew through the beholder’s imagination that decides and investigates the function of the piece.

I use color and patterns to invite a closer look. The vessel, when given a new appearance, allows a quiet conversation to take place. Who am I really? How does my appearance, my attitude affect my inner being? Does is enhance the self or cover it up? Through these processes I strive to show the pureness of the wood – the essence of being.


Helga Winter is a wood turner. Madrone is her favorite turning wood; she uses the instability of this wood to her advantage and lays free what is hidden inside. Helga was born in Germany and came to the U.S. as a young woman to study Education. She received her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt Peabody College in Nashville, TN in 1981. She apprenticed herself with Fine Furniture maker Paul Pitts in 1982 and studied with wood turners Rude Osolnik and David Ellsworth in 1984. Helga was instrumental in founding the Tennessee Association of Woodturners in 1986.

Gallery Affiliations

She is represented at the Northwest Woodworkers Gallery in Seattle, WA, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, in Bainbridge, WA, Imogen Gallery in Astoria, OR and White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach, OR

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