My life with wood began at an early age watching my dad build, turn and repair useful items for our house. Before I began my own wood career, however, my life included living in Maryland, Guatemala, Germany, Wyoming and Colorado; studying at the University of Maryland and the University of Wyoming to receive degrees in Speech Pathology; and raising two sons.
In 1981 I moved to rural southwest Virginia to live off the land with Lloyd Sumner, travel adventure writer and computer artist. It was here that I became excited about working with wood in its many forms. By 1983 Lloyd and I had begun our craft business TreeArt as well as TreeArt Sawmilling, and on my way to becoming the first woman member of Wood-Mizer's 100,000 board foot club, I sawed not only many board feet for our customers, but also many species of wood for our own home. The house is designed in the spiral shape of a chambered nautilus shell and contains over 250 different species of wood.
While studying woodturning at Arrowmont with Liam O’Neill in 1987, I heard about the IWCS from long-time member Bob Stocksdale. Lloyd and I joined immediately and attended every meeting from Topeka, Kansas in 1988 to Columbus, Indiana in 1995. As a team we organized a regional meeting at our house in 1989, hosted "Woodfest International" in Blacksburg, Virginia in 1992, and edited the World of Wood from 1992 to 1995, initiating many changes.
After Lloyd's sudden death in 1996, I continued taking my woodturnings to arts and craft shows in the Mid-Atlantic States, but had less time to devote to the Society. In spite of the pressures of managing my life and business alone, I have attended meetings in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, Australia, and most recently South Africa. I have also maintained my membership on the Publications Committee. In addition I am presently a member of the American Association of Woodturners, the Highpointers Club and US Masters Swimming, and enjoy contradancing and worldwide travel.
As Past Trustee for the IWCS, I look forward to giving back to an organization which has offered me many enjoyable and educational experiences. If you are a member in the Southeast United States region, I am the one to contact with your IWCS concerns and ideas. (Jean Sumner:
Jean Sumner #4431L