Suburban woodworker turns fallen trees into art

December 24, 2010 3:46:23 PM PST
A Western Springs woodworker creates artwork out of fallen trees, including ornaments sold at the Morton Arboretum.

A former teacher and current webmaster, Richard Dlugo started his wood-turning hobby back in the seventies -- using his spare time to build for his children.

"I've had things fly across the room. I got hit in the head a couple times with things falling off the lathe because I wasn't doing things right, but the challenge was to stick with it," Dlugo said.

Now he has moved on to making fine furniture and functional art. This year, he also has added Christmas tree ornaments. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are sold in the gift shop at the Morton Arboretum. Dlugo uses wood from trees that have come down on their property.

"The ones I used for the arboretum are woods you don't find because they have what trees from 40 countries over there or something like that. So I got to work with Turkish hazelnut, Pekin walnut, Ohio buckeye, European larch," Dlugo said.

Jacque Fucilla runs the gift shop at the arboretum. She says patrons have been thrilled with the new offering.

"People have a real connection with the arboretum and they like to be able to take home a piece of the arboretum. So this is a nice affordable piece that can be displayed not only on your Christmas tree, but all year around in your home," Fucilla said.

The ornaments range in price from about $24 to $42.

Morton Arboretum www.mortonarb.org

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