Billy Hall was trained at Duke University as a biochemist and worked for ten years in that capacity. His real love, however, was his woodworking hobby which soon turned into a business. Each night he would retire to his small, dusty shop where he would revel in the transcendent beauty of wood grain. Inspiration came as he uncovered the history of a tree as told in the infinite variations of swirling wood grain patterns.
For years Billy dreamed of making wood glow. Then late one night driving down a twisting country road he realized that it might be possible to turn wood thin enough on a lathe to produce a lampshade. Suddenly the dream of a lifetime unfolded – to bring a new dimension of beauty to the wood grain he loved so passionately.
Billy quit his job, built a bigger studio and bought a lathe. He studied with three master woodturners: Liam O’Neal, Rudy Osoinik and David Ellsworth. Using the techniques they taught him, he spent two years perfecting the process to produce turned wooden lampshades.
By carefully drying the wood in rough-turned bowls and then replacing the wood’s internal moisture with thick coats of epoxy, Billy was able to create lampshades that would be durable and completely stable for many years.
Billy brings his glowing wood sculptures to the world to let people see the wonder of wood again for the first time. They are a metaphor reminding us that when we let our own inner light shine through, we will discover new and unexpected dimensions of the divine beauty within each of us.
Here’s a lovely profile on Billy published by Duke University Magazine.