Featured Artist: Alan Adler, In His Own Words

Featured Artist: Alan Adler, In His Own Words.  Alan Adler gives an insight into his creativity in both work and play.

ABOUT ALAN ADLERAlan Adler Profile

Full Name: Alan Adler

Year of Birth: Before 1950

Nationality: US

Place of Birth: New England

Where do you currently live? New Jersey, USA

What is, or was, your main job? Business founder of Cases By Source and Source Packaging (http://www.casesbysource.com/).  We design and manufacture cases and speciality packaging solutions to enhance our customer’s brand.

What would be your dream job? Philanthropy.  Having a foundation that helps people and organizations that do not have access to mainstream funding.  I have the name and business plan, just need to do it.

Other than woodturning, do you have any other notable hobbies? Family and Career.


Norfolk Island Pine Bowl

Norfolk Island Pine Bowl

Are you a professional turner, hobby turner or something else? Hobby turner.  My portfolio is available at http://www.AATurning.com

When did you begin turning, and why? April 2009.  After more than 30 years of designing projects for clients it was time to return to my design roots and create things that were of a personal nature. I was looking at painting, print making, sculpture when I came across a Norfolk Island Pine bowl by Ron Kent in a gallery. It was several thousand dollars and after struggling with it, I decided I would take lessons and see if I could learn this skill.  After a two day class at Woodcraft, I was fully addicted and purchased a Nova DVR one month later.  Attached is photo of a Norfolk Island Pine Bowl that I made.

Are you a member of a turning club and if so which one? Hudson Valley Wood TurnersWe meet once a month in Mahwah NJ.  www.HudsonValleyWoodturners.org.  Write me at Alan@AATurning.com for more information.

Who (or what!) has had the greatest influence on your turning? It was a Ron Kent piece that captured my attention to learn woodturning.  Also, Betty Scarpino‘s work which influenced me to cut up and reassemble turned items.  Michael Hosaluk  who influenced me to explore color, texture, carving and making a piece with personality.

Who is your favourite woodturner? Michael Hosaluk

Do you have a favourite artist, in any medium, other than woodturning? Henry Matisse and Rene Magritte

Do you have any formal training that helps your turning (e.g. Art, Design, Photography, Engineering etc)? Drop out engineer.  Master’s Degree in Package Design from Pratt Institute.

Do you have any other similar or allied skills? What fascinates me about woodturning is all the other skills we use and learn to make our work better.  I had no idea how to sharpen tools, make tools and fixtures, set up a vacuum chuck system, do pyrography, airbrush or replace motors until I discovered woodturning.  I must thank all woodturners who openly share information not seen in any other art form.

What is the most unusual thing that you have turned? On my To Do List is an Urn for my favorite cat, Weinstein.

What are your favourite pieces that you have turned? StarFish Bowl, Sea Urchin Series, Zipper Series, Matisse inspired- Dancing On Air, Jewelry pendants




Jewelry Pendants

Jewelry Pendants

What is your favourite ‘sphere’ of turning (e.g. Bowls, Platters, Boxes, Pens, Hollow forms etc)? I never go on the lathe without knowing what I want to accomplish.  Usually the project is supported with sketches and I do not seem to favor one area over another.  I do enjoy making jewelry from colored pencils and have never made a pen.


Are there any other woodturners (or artists / crafters etc) in your family?  There are several artists in our extended family mostly in print making, painting and sculpture. My wife helps me with the jewelry making and I can be found in a bead store more frequently than her.  I used to hate going into those stores, now I lead the way.



Zipper Series

Zipper Series

What has been your biggest disaster?  Nothing comes to mind as a disaster.  I have had many failures due to the wood not cooperating or my skill set is not capable of pulling off the challenge.  I put these items on the side, look at them for a year or so and then come back to them for completion.  The Zipper series was a result of a cracked vase that was not deserving of firewood.


Is your workshop a dedicated space or shared with other activities (i.e. a garage shared with a car, art studio etc)? I have a dedicated space in the basement.  I like to call it a studio, but that would be a stretch.

How many lathes do you own? One lathe

What is the make and model of your main lathe? Robust American Beauty.

Have you had any previous lathes? Nova DVR

What is your ‘dream lathe’? Got it.  I thought the DVR was my last lathe, until I tried a Robust.

Other than your lathe, what is your favourite tool or machine? High Speed Piercing and texturing tools

Is your workshop very tidy, a ‘work in progress’ or a disaster zone? Depends who you ask.  To my wife, it is a filthy disaster zone.  To me it is Man Cave Heaven.


If you produce YouTube or similar videos, what are your three favourites? Never did a video.  Been asked several times, but it is not on my list.

Do you have a website? http://AATurning.com


What is your favourite drink and snack food whilst in the workshop?  Never eat in the workshop except for flying wood chips.


Anything else you would like to say or be known about you and your turning life? Woodturners are the most giving and generous artists.  There are no secrets and the masters are accessible to the beginners.  The support system to learn this craft is like no other and now that I have learned a few skills I am able to give back by teaching and sharing my skills with others.

Coming up in future Featured Turner articles we have, amongst others, Sam Angelo (The Wyoming Woodturner) and the ‘Goblet Master’ himself Mike Waldt.


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3 thoughts on “Featured Artist: Alan Adler, In His Own Words

  1. Yuval Lahav

    Wonderful inside look, Alan is so gifted, and I love the starfish bowl most of all! Thank you for sharing. By the way, since my wife’s father is a retired packaging designer, he taught me to see packaging as an art form in itself, which it is, you could have added that to your artistic skills as well!


    • Tom Stratton Post author

      Thanks Yuval, I shall pass this feedback on to Alan. I’m not sure if I prefer the Starfish Bowl or Dancing on Air….


    • Alan Adler

      Yuval, Thank you for your kind words and your appreciation for package design. It is an honor to follow your Featured Artist article. I admire how much you give to the turning community with your videos. Alan


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