About Maurice.

Maurice Clabaugh began turning in 1991.  Before that, he had no formal training in any art form, and had no knowledge of lathe turnings as well.  He is completely self-taught and uses his keen observations and innate ability to focus on nature's extraordinary handiwork (i.e., bark inclusions, wood grain figures, knotholes and various wood colorations). He has trained himself to become a wood turner and artist who specializes in "natural" contemplative art pieces. He creates his pieces in harmony with, and brings special attention to, the unique variations nature places in each piece of wood he turns. 

Philosophy: Most wood turners use unblemished wood manipulating and adjusting each piece in an effort to express themselves through their work. He subscribes to a very different approach.  He believes wood is a living element and possesses a spirit.  Maurice brings into harmony the personality and spirit of the wood and uses his skills to expose this harmony, so it maybe seen and appreciated.  He begins a metamorphosis during this process, which takes the commonly labeled "defects" in a piece and transforms them, so that they become the very feature that gives the piece its distinctive beauty.  He highlights these blemishes rather than "turn them away". His end goal is not only to release the inner beauty of the piece but also to preserve and enhance it for future enjoyment.  He believes that everything in creation has a measure of beauty to share. He is driven to share this contemplative art with viewers seeking renewal in any form but especially through nature. Just as the spirit of the wood is renewed in his art form, he desires to renew the observer's spirit during viewing as his was renewed during the turning process. 

Woods: He uses only  found woods and never cuts trees for his art.  Clabaugh prefers to use primarily southern hardwoods. He sees woods differently.  Maurice specializes in revitalizing discarded wood, i.e., logs struck by lightning, charred in fires, pieces of roots, those with knotholes and cracks as well as other disfigurements.  The pieces destined for a fireplace, city trash pick-up, or the natural rotting process becomes his most stimulating challenges Somewhat unique to his turnings, is the use of "spalted" woods. Spalting is a stage in the decaying process that due to bacteria, moisture, temperature and time creates a delicate, lace-like network of lines in the figure of the wood.  The process changes the chemical and cellular structure of the log and thus enables a "one of a kind" pattern to emerge that cannot be duplicated.  

Finishes: Most all of the wooden items are left with a "natural wood" finishes and are not augmented with stains or artificial colorings. When color has been added, it is noted on the item's description. Each bowl or wooden object is finished with a jeweler's finish. Each item has two coats of sanding sealer, several coats of clear lacquer finish and a coat of pure carnauba wax that is buffed on a jeweler's wheel. This gives a smooth gloss or semi-gloss gloss finish, which makes the objects very tactile.

Awards and Achievements:

  • West Alabama Juried Art Show, Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL. - 3rd Place - '97: J.R. Leigh Cash Award - '99: 3rd Place - '03: Merit Award  '04: Honorable Mentions - '98,'01,'02,(3 awards) - '06,'08: Best-of-Show (Zoller, PurchaseAward - '07), Award of Excellence - '11
  • Featured Artist, "Discovering Wood Spirits" by Cassandra Imfield and Leah Hammond, Alabama West, No. 8, 1997
  • Invited Demonstrator - "Alabama Arts 2000" (traveling exhibit of Alabama Arts Council) Gadsden, AL. 2000
  • Featured Artist - Gulf Coast Museum of Art - Shop 12211 Walsingham Rd. Largo FL. 2000 to 2007
  • Participant - Alabama Wood: Retrospective - Juried Art Exhibit - Gadsden Art Museum, Gadsden, and AL. 2001
  • Featured Artist - BEE  Gallery, 509 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. and Carmel by the Sea, CA, 2001 - 2006
  • Featured Artist - David Dale Designs Gallery, 2515 Jackson, Muncie, IN. 2001 to Present
  • "Trees Anew"  One Man Woodturning Exhibit by Maurice Clabaugh, Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL. 2002
  • "Spirits Renewed" One Man Woodturning by Maurice Clabaugh, St. Benedictine Abbey, Cullman, Al. 5/15/02 - 6/10/02
  • Invited Demonstrator - Southern States Wood Turning Symposium, Gainesville, GA. '02, '03
  • Druid City Visual Artist of the Year 2002, Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL. 5/18/02
  • Featured Instructor - John C. Campbell Folk School, Brass Town, North Carolina, 6/29-7/05/03
  • Artist in Residence - Black Warrior Studio and Gallery, Tuscaloosa, AL 2003-2006
  • Featured Artist - "TransAtlantic 2005" Be Original Gallery, 800 Miami Circle, Atlanta, GA, 2005
  • Featured Artist - "Turning into Harmony" by Theresa Pappas, Jubilation, 10th ed., Winter/Spring, 2005
  • Featured Artist/Demonstrator - Kentuck Art Festival, Northport, AL, 2003-2008
  • Featured Artist - International Wood Collectors Society, Lake Yale, FL. 2/03: Shocco Springs, AL.  8/04
  • Featured Gallery Artist - 2005 - 2006 - ArtRages, Atlanta, GA; Artifacts Gallery, Florence AL,; Liz Carpenter Gallery, Tuscaloosa, AL. 
  • Featured  Artist - Stonehenge Gallery, 1041 East Fairview Ave., Montgomery AL, 2005 - Present
  • Featured Artist - Blue Phrog Gallery, Montevallo, Al, 2005- Present
  • Featured  Artist - Pine Mountain Loft and Gallery, 103 East Broad St., Pine Mountain GA, 2005 - Present
  • Featured  Artist - Maralyn Wilson Gallery, 3980 Clairmont Ave. Birmingham, AL, 35222, 2005 - 2011
  • Featured  Artist - Orange Hill Art, Inc., 331 Elizabeth Street, Ste C, Atlanta, GA, 2005 - Present
  • Featured Artist - Cobblestone Galleries, Rome, GA 2006-2007
  • Invited Artist - "Alabama Originals: Contemporary Crafts" Alabama State Council on the Arts, 7/19/2007 - 9/2007
  • Featured Artist - "Best Artist and Artisans Pottery and Woodworking" Kennedy Publishing, http://bestofartistsgallery.ip.com, 2007, p. 62
  • Featured Artist - Sea Watch House (Living Room). Coastal Living Magazine. Idea House 2009, October 2009
  • Featured Artist - Moreno Gabay Collection (Seven Pieces) Vancouver British Columbia, Canada, 2010
  • Featured Artist - Wild Birds Unlimited, 312 Merchants Walk, Tuscaloosa, Al 2009 - 2015
  • Featured Artist - A Place Remembered, 309 De La Mare Ave. Fairhope, Al 36532, 2010 - 2011
  • Featured Artist - "Knock on Wood- Contain It" Flowers Magazine, September 2011, pg. 71
  • Featured Artist - " Windows". C.J. Stephen Collection - New York, NY, 2010
  • Featured Artist - Turning 25- A Celebration, American Association of Woodturners, St. Paul MN, 2011, pg. 236
  • First Place Award - Creek Stravaganza, Friends of Hurricane Creek Art Show, Tuscaloosa, Al, September, 27, 2011 
  • Featured Artist -  "Cardinal Nest", Nick and Terry Sabin Collection, Tuscaloosa, Al, 2013
  • Patron Award- P. Todd, Kentuck Arts Festival, 2015
  • Featured Artist - "Shelter", Stewart R. and Susan Bell Collection, University of Alabama President's Mansion, Tuscaloosa, AL 2017
  • Featured Artist- "Maple Blossom", William and Shannon Oyster Collection, Blue Ridge, GA, 2017



Professional Affiliations

Maurice looking a the "spirit  revealed in the vessel".