Keith Tompkins remembers his first experience at the lathe he turned a pair of walnut candlesticks in high school wood shop. He watched as the form of each candlestick developed, and then how a film of French polish seemed to bring the swirling grain to life. Something inside of Tompkins had come to life as well; he discovered a passion for woodworking that would endure for a lifetime. From his first job at a cabinet making shop to beginning his own custom furniture business, Keith has been ever-learning by watching, reading, and making. Gradually, his interests turned from functional work to artistic turning. It has been over forty years since those first candlesticks, and Keith says he feels the same sense of accomplishment when he turns an abstract concept into a completed object at the lathe. The lathe, he says, gives him a sense of complete freedom and allows him to explore the limits of his creative ability. Inspiration can come from a walk in the woods, the appearance of folds in a piece of fabric, or even a seemingly insignificant life experience. Tompkins woodworking career continues to lead him in new and often unexpected directions, and he believes the best is yet to come.