Bob Rotche – Profile

Bob Rotche is a Virginia, USA based woodturner/carver/sculptor. He has worked with wood in one manner or another for most of his life but it was exposure to the lathe and its ability to create smooth flowing curves that really captured his imagination. Involvement with the AAW’s yearly themed exhibitions opened his eyes to the incredible creative opportunities in wood art. He continues to use the lathe extensively but is now recognized more for his work with carving, colour and texture. “I try to keep a very open and curious mind in my attitude towards wood art. There are so many approaches and techniques being pursued today that the opportunity to tell a story with wood has never been greater.” Bob is involved with a number of local and online galleries and his work has been featured in numerous juried exhibitions and several magazines.


  1. Sculptures and Spheres

-Will start with an approximately 30min slide based discussion about sculpture, what it is and how it relates to woodturning. We will discuss an approach to viewing and describing sculpture by thinking about concepts such as positive and negative space, light/shadow, shape, balance, colour and texture looking at works of well known woodturners as examples.

-Show images of some of my sculptures, many of which incorporate lathe turned spheres.

-Demonstrate sphere turning including making cup chucks and then turning a sphere without any jigs by using the ghost image method.

-Finish up by going through my top 10 tips for taking your work to the next level.

2. Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

-Discuss embellishment possibilities and show samples

-Quickly turn several simple items with possibilities including tool handles, pencil cups, coffee scoops, bottle stoppers, honey dippers, etc.

-Demonstrate as many as time allows with possibilities including:

  1. Wire brush texture with dry brush painting
  2. Rotary carved texture with dry brush painting
  3. Pyrography
  4. Milk Paint
  5. Liming Wax
  6. Metal leaf

-Finish up by going through my top 10 tips for taking your work to the next level

3. Carving, Color and Creativity

-Briefly discuss the history of painted wood with both historical and modern era examples

-Slideshow of some of my work focusing on relief carving, texture and colour

-Review sample boards with various texture and colouring examples

-Demonstrate creating texture with a micromotor carver and then dry brush painting of the texture

-Briefly review the concept and use of the colour wheel and how it can help with fading of one colour into another

-Demonstrate fading technique

-Finish up with about 15 minute discussion about creativity and outline strategies for unleashing and maximizing this innate ability that resides within us all but which we all too often repress

Master Class- Powercarving and Painting Leaves

-Discussion of power carving tools

  • Flex shaft vs. micromotor
  • Review types of carving burrs
  • Files, rifflers and sanding sticks
  • Discuss making of a micro power sanding bit for smoothing and shaping

-Discuss use of pyrocarving for refining details and undercutting and review a typical unit and burning pens

-Discuss steps in relief carving and then demo

  • Layout of design
  • Removal of background
  • Shaping and texturing of leaves
  • Pyrotexturing of background
  • Dry brush painting