Meet Our Award-Winning Instructors
Our award-winning instructors at the Dunedin Fine Art Center teach a variety of artistic mediums. Our instructors have taught at renowned schools and have been showcased locally, nationally and internationally. Combining education, experience and talent, our instructors have helped thousands of students, young and old, learn new artistic skills and unleash their creativity.
Diane Abernathy earned her BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, where she also taught Ceramics for ten years. She kept a studio in Ohio where she taught adults and home-schooled children. In addition, she developed and taught the Ceramics Art program at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. She exhibited her work throughout Ohio at juried exhibitions and galleries. The Columbus College of Art and Design and Sinclair Community College purchased her work for their permanent collections. She started learning silver-smithing in Columbus, Ohio and now resides in Florida.
Brooke Allison received her education from Shimer College, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the American Academy of Art. A Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, Brooke is also a member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast – California; the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NYC, NY; and the Florida Artist’s Group. Brooke’s paintings have been shown at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Jacksonville Museum of Art and the Butler Institute of American Art. Her artwork and techniques have been featured in Artist’s Magazine and Pastel Journal.
Karen Baker has been teaching classes and workshops for over 30 years and delights in helping students discover and express their creative voice through applied technique and self-exploration. She studied drawing and mixed media with abstract artist, Barbara Garber, at Brattleboro Community College in Vermont where she became passionate about the pastel medium, landscape painting, and plein air. In the years that followed, she was mentored by Master Pastelist Herman Margulies, and studied with Stanley Maltzman, Christina DeBarry, Elizabeth Apgar-Smith and Wolf Kahn. Her artwork has received awards and recognition in regional and national shows as well as from international art magazine competitions including The Artist’s Magazine and Pastel Journal. She holds Signature Membership with Connecticut Pastel Society, Pastel Society of America, and Pastel Society of Tampa Bay and is also a member The Exhibiting Society of Artists, and Vermont Pastel Society. Galleries in Florida and New England represent her artwork. You can visit Karen’s personal website at
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Nathan Beard has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado State University. He is a professional artist exhibiting throughout the country and his work has also been featured in exhibits in Japan. He maintains a studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Nathan is an abstract painter who is inspired by the density and variety of Floridian flora and is conceptually drawn to interweaving layers and its metaphorical application to memory recall and moments of time.
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Holly Bird is a printmaker, illustrator and graphic designer. With a BD (BFA + Design) from University of Florida, Holly’s career as a designer has ranged from storyboarding for movies and television to working in magazines, television and advertising as an art director. She also taught graphic design at USF and has been exhibiting in group shows and solo exhibits as a professional printmaker for the last several years. She is a Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan-At-Large with other printmakers and artisans, all working in the revival of the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Visit her online gallery to learn more at www.studioibis.com.
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Bonnie Bowman is an artist who believes the pursuit of mastering ancient craft techniques is relevant and essential to the wellbeing of our present minds. She has sold her work through commissions from private and corporate clients, as well as produced work marketed and sold to an international market. Bonnie’s greatest passion is teaching the art of weaving, basketry, and clay to students of all ages and abilities. See more of Bonnie’s work at www.bonnielbowman.com.
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Ira Burhans received a Bachelor of Fine Art in ceramics from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He regularly exhibits his award-winning artworks at festivals throughout the eastern United States. He is the owner of the Clay & Paper Gallery in Dunedin. You can visit Ira’s website at www.claypaper.com.
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Elizabeth Cadena is a self-taught artist who has been teaching classes in poured acrylic techniques for the past several years. She is the owner of White Buffalo Design.
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Valory Canfield has a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design. She has taught watercolor painting at Pocosin Arts School of Fine Art, and now teaches watercolor at DFAC. She also specializes in commissioned portraiture and caricature drawings and paintings. Visit Valory’s website at www.valorycanfield.com.
Bill Coleman has over 30 years of experience in the design and fabrication of architectural metal products. He is the artist and owner of Arc Angels, Inc. producing the finest quality cast and wrought ornamental metalwork. Bill is also the founder of the Institute of Creative Arts in Dunedin.
Joyce Curvin, a Tampa Bay native, has explored a variety of artistic media from clay to metals to paper, culminating in her work in mixed-media and paper mache. Her award-winning dogs, cats, birds and fish are known for their bright colors and whimsical character. She enjoys “re-introducing” students to the paper mache and helping them to explore the possibilities of this fun medium.
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Christine Di Staola finished her undergraduate studies at Miami University (Ohio) in 1988 with degrees in fine art (BFA) and Italian and moved to Italy where she lived and worked in until 2016. She returned to the United States to obtain her MFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Miami (Florida), bringing with her a sense of color and gesture that relate directly to her lifestyle and experiences in the bel paese. Her paintings and prints have been selected for juried exhibitions in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad, and her award-winning work has also appeared in online galleries, video and print publications.
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Sondra Elder holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree from DePaul University. Studying internationally with some of the world’s most talented artists has fueled Sondra’s artistic journey as a painter, photographer, and ceramist. She has taught various topics on three different continents and now brings her passion for wheel-throwing to the Dunedin Fine Art Center.
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Molly Graham, LMHC, ATR, is a Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Art Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and a BA in Visual Art from Florida State University. Molly owns a private practice in downtown Dunedin to help individuals deal with anxiety and depression related to life’s many transitions.
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Margot Griffin is a lettering artist who specializes in modern, pointed pen calligraphy and signage. She started Inky Fingers Calligraphy in Key West, FL specifically to address a need in the wedding industry but found herself spending many nights balanced upon bar tops lettering chalk walls in restaurants. She enjoys teaching new students how accessible pretty writing can be and in her spare time practices watercolor painting and paper cutting, selling her designs as greeting cards. She balances out her art life with additional jobs as a sailor and kayak/paddle board guide.
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Toni Roeder Hutfilz studied art in London, Paris and Spain. She now teaches locally and in Costa Rica. Toni finds enjoyment in being a watermedia instructor as it allows her to expose students to new techniques, materials and experimentation. While she has awards and membership in National and International organizations, her most exciting times and rewards are in the classroom. Toni’s artwork can be seen at her studio at the Imago Art Group in Dunedin.
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Jamie Jackson is a free lance, award winning photographer from Tampa Florida. He started doing photography in 2000 taking various photo and darkroom classes at the DFAC. After that, he traveled with many National Geographic Photographers throughout the years and has free lanced for American Photo and Popular Photography Magazines. In 2007 and 2017, Jamie was one of the winners in Photo District News’s “FACES” Competition where his work was published. In Addition, Jamie served as Vice Chair of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in 2011-2013. He also Created the annual, award winning, community project “One Day Tampa Bay.”
Shawn Dell Joyce began her career as an artist’s apprentice in New York’s SoHo area in the 1980s and worked in the studios of many prestigious artists. Her entrepreneurial spirit called her North to the Hudson Valley, where she began teaching a series of plein air painting classes in 2000. These classes grew into a plein air school with an Arts and Agricultural mission based on the historic Hudson River School. Shawn continues to serve on the board of the Wallkill River School of art, a non-profit arts organization.
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Noriko Kuehn is an award-winning artist in Pastel, Sumi-e, Watercolor and Japanese calligraphy. Having studied calligraphy since the age of four in Japan, Noriko has painted and lived in Tokyo, London, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Noriko currently works out of her studio in Dunedin and exhibits throughout Florida as an active member of the Pastel Society of Tampa Bay.
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Jackie LaDrig earned her Bachelor of Fine Art in ceramics at the University of Tampa and her Master of Fine Art in ceramics with a minor in small metals from Georgia Southern University. She has taught elementary, high school and college level art. She is affiliated with the College Art Association, the American Craft Council and Florida CraftArt.
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Brenda Mattson has been an artist since she was 7 years old after receiving a set of oil paints from her grandfather. Brenda specializes in pastels & oil with her works on display internationally. She gains her inspiration through nature and the outdoors, favoring the landscapes and cultures of Australia, Ireland, and Italy, as well as her birth state of Michigan, and home state of Florida. Brenda is an Eminent Master Pastelist with the International Association of Pastelist Societies (IAPS), a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, a signature member of the Portrait Society of America, and a member of the Pastel Society of Tampa Bay. She is a former Exhibition Chairperson IAPS, a lifetime member of the Southwest Florida Pastel Society, and a former member of the Salmagundi Club of NYC. Brenda has been featured in Best of Pastel in America, and Best of Pastel Worldwide. Her artwork is a part of the permanent collection of the President Ronald Reagan Center in Santa Barbara, CA, and the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, MI. Brenda’s work can currently be found at the Stirling Art Studios and Gallery in Dunedin, FL. Visit her website at www.brendamattson.com to see her work.
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Susan Maxon founded the jewelry department at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Although she made her first piece of forged jewelry in 1949, she began her career as an arts educator in 1968. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and earned her PhD in Oklahoma and Texas. Before moving to Florida and teaching for the Dunedin Fine Art Center, she was the Chairman of the Art Department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Susan is also an active artist and designer owning and operating Honors Gran Jewelry since 1989 in Oklahoma and now in Florida. Visit her website at www.HonorsGran.com to see her work.
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Melissa Miller Nece is president of the Colored Pencil Society of America, and previously served eight years as CPSA’s ways and means director. She is a ten year merit CPSA signature member and a CPX signature member of the society. Her other memberships include the Miniature Artists of America (signature member and board member), the Professional Association of Visual Artists (board member), the Miniature Art Society of Florida (past board member), and the Florida Artist Group. Her step-by-step article on a colored pencil/mixed media technique was featured in The Artist’s Magazine in October 2012 and her work has been published in numerous books and other magazines. Her paintings and drawings are in numerous corporate and private collections, including the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick, England. Her work has also been used for packaging and promotional materials by multiple art materials manufacturers. Melissa has a BFA from Lake Erie College and has been teaching drawing, colored pencil, and oil and acrylic painting at DFAC since 1990. She has also taught college level graphic design and worked in commercial art. www.mmillernece.com.
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Eric Oberg has been carving stone sculpture for monuments since 1975. He apprenticed with sculptor Frank C. Gaylord for six years, and was thereafter self-employed in the monument industry. He contracted with manufacturers and retailers, and occasionally with individual clients. Most of his work has been in granite, but it also includes marble, alabaster, dolomite, slate, soapstone, basalt, and limestone. Currently he has a home studio and also does work at Rock of Ages Corporation in central Vermont, and during the Winters he teaches stone carving at DFAC.
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Maria Olan was born in Caracas, Venezuela and is a graduate of the Nueva Esparta University where she earned a degree in Civil Engineering and Urban Development. She is passionate about art and design, visual arts and theater.
Zoe Papas has her B FA in Drawing/Illustration from the University of Central Florida. She creates dynamic figure drawings using mainly chalk, charcoal and ink washes. Zoe returned to her home town to pursue her passion as an artist and is a recent addition to our faculty as a Life Drawing instructor. She recently won an Award of Excellence at the Art Harvest Art Show.
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Pam Pawl Hudson has 40 years’ experience at the loom and has taught classes at Penland School of Crafts, The Newark Museum Weaving Workshop, Philadelphia College of Textiles, Moore College of Art and Design as well as the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers and many other guilds in the Mid- Atlantic area. www.pampawltextiles.com.
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Stacy Perry is an award winning jewelry artist and maker and has an extensive background in business, fine jewelry and gemology. Her work has been featured in distinguished publications such as the Dupont Registry, Making Jewellery and Tampa Bay magazines and her jewelry can be found in galleries and numerous private collections. Her business name hodgepodgerie™ is well regarded throughout the worldwide art jewelry community.
Stacy is a past board member of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths and is current president of the FSG West Coast Chapter, serving since 2012. She has been extensively involved in the growth of the jewelry programs here at the DFAC and works through the WCFSG providing equipment and tooling to help create top-notch jewelry studios and promote the art of jewelry making. She has been teaching at the DFAC since 2007 specializing in both jewelry fabrication/metalsmithing and wire.
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Concepcion Poou Coy Tharin is Mayan Q’eqchi’ from a small village named Samac, outside of the city of Coban in Guatemala. She is a master backstrap weaver, taught by her mother and sister, specializing in an intricate lace-like white-on-white style of weaving called picb’il. She is dedicated to promoting Mayan weaving and culture.
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Lorraine Potocki received her BA in Fine Art and Education from the College of New Jersey. She works in pastel and acrylic in styles from realistic to abstract expressionism. Potocki has exhibited throughout Florida including Solo shows in Tampa, Lakeland and Seminole. Her work has been featured in Tampa Bay Magazine and is a past winner of the Clearwater Jazz poster contest. She welcomes commissions and visitors to her studio at Stirling Art Studios & Gallery in Dunedin.
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Barbara Rivolta is a potter and metal clay artist who worked as a museum professional for many years. In her own artwork, she likes to combine ceramics, glass and precious metal clay with other materials. Barbara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art & Education from Goddard College, and a Masters Degree in Near Eastern Archaeology from Drew University. She has the following Metal Clay Certifications: PMC Level III, Rio Grande, Art Clay Silver.
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Robert is the founder of tRg Studio,theROSTICKgroup Commercial Photography and Digital Photography Training. His vision is to help others master the technical aspects of photography so they can more easily share their creative vision. Robert received his education at the Art Institute of Atlanta in photography and graphic design. Robert currently serves as the Education Director of the Tampa Bay Camera Club.
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As a Registered Clinical Art therapist, Anna believes that if you empower people through art, they will see the world and their environment from a fresher perspective. Anna holds a Masters Degree in Art Therapy from Saint Mary of the Woods College, IN, and a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from the University of South Florida. In her private practice, Anna helps people facing a variety of daily issues like depression, anxiety, grief, and loss. Anna is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.
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Candy Schultheis began her art career as a photographic artist and expanded her artistic expression as she studied with a number of award winning artists. Due to the influence of instructors Flora Bowley and Joan Fullerton, she began to specialize in intuitive painting. She has a studio at Stirling Commons and is a member of the Pastel Society of Tampa Bay, PAVA and the Creative Artist Guild. http://www.candyschultheis.com/
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Alison Shepard enjoys pen and ink, painting, sculpture, murals, weaving and ceramic arts. She graduated from Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio with a Bachelor of Fine Art, and has taught in several public schools throughout Dayton, Ohio. She has worked in Florida as a teacher, mural artist, surveyor, survey and engineering drafter, graphics designer, and illustrator. Clay handbuilding and throwing at the Dunedin Fine Art Center for the last 11 years has become her favorite challenge. However, she is still doing mural paintings, gradually turning her house, inside and out, into a creature-filled forest landscape.
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Steve Sikorski graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Ceramics. He has been teaching art at the elementary school level for eight years in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He is a member of the University of South Florida’s College of Education Honors Program, SCATT. Mr. Steve has been the clay studio instructor for the past two years at the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s Sizzlin’ Summer Art Camp.
Ken Straight attended the American Bladesmithing School. He demonstrates both blacksmithing and bladesmithing for Pioneer Park in St. Petersburg and is the head volunteer blacksmith at Heritage Village. Ken has taught both blacksmithing and bladesmithing classes through the Pinellas Historical Society at Heritage Village.
Robert Sutherland is a fine artist whose expertise includes oils, casein, pastels, oil pastels, watercolor, pencil, and pen and ink. He received his degree in Art Education at Oklahoma State University, and began as a commercial art illustrator with Creative Associates in Oklahoma City. Robert spent a number of years in Nashville, Tennessee where he was actively involved in both the art world and the music industry as a recording artist. His paintings have been shown in Tennessee State Museums, the Dixon Gallery in Memphis, and are also included in the collections of many notable Nashville celebrities. Robert’s artistic journey has developed a new technique he calls “Spinning.” From the spinning classes has emerged a new group, Spin-Arte, comprised of artists who are showing their work at major galleries and shows.
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Gail Thayer grew up in Pennsylvania, has a degree in Math, spent 30 years in government management for the state of Maine, and was a glass bead maker for more than 20 years. After moving to Florida, she started taking silversmithing classes with Susan Maxon at DFAC in 2011 and has been hooked on metalworking, cabochons and faceted stones ever since. Gail is the current President of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths which works to promote the art of metalsmithing and provide educational and exchange opportunities for those interested in these arts.
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Chef Craig Tinling is a Red Seal certified chef and has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. He has worked in various kitchens around the world and has a true passion for food and a unique knowledge and appreciation for a variety of cuisines. Craig loves teaching and sharing his passion for food with others. www.chefcraigtinling.com.
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Markissia Touliatos has been a commissioned portrait painter for over 30 years specializing in alla prima techniques. She studied classical realism, portraiture, and landscape painting for four years at the Atelier of Plein-Air Studies. She is also an accomplished international award-winning painter of miniatures and a signature member of three Miniature societies. Her award winning art is included in many prestigious public and private collections.
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Kerry Waltz is a watercolor artist with a Masters Degree in Education and has enjoyed teaching children and adults for over 28 years. She is the former owner of the Greenwood Plantation Gallery in Greenwood, Florida. Kerry has studied with many different professional and masterful artists such as Edgar Whitney, Robert E. Wood, Rex Brant, Milford Zornes, Helen B. Reed, and Robert Gray. Her work has been shown in juried art shows from California to Florida and has earned her numerous awards. While living in California she spent four years showing her work at the prestigious Art-A-Fair Festival in Laguna Beach. She was a featured artist in the grand opening of the Art-A-Fair Gallery in downtown Laguna. Kerry has exhibited her work at major Florida art festivals such as Mainsail, Art Harvest Dunedin, Mount Dora, Tarpon Springs and more. Kerry is a Signature Member of the Florida Watercolor Society, the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society, and the Tallahassee Watercolor Society. Visit Kerry’s website at www.kerrystrattonwaltz.com
Debra Thomas-Weible has a lifelong interest in drawing and has studied under the great watercolorist, Pat Weaver. Debra is a member of DFAC’s Board of Directors and is a Signature Member of the Florida Watercolor Society.
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Chris Van Vooren is a visual artist specializing in large scale acrylic painting to achieve visual innovation and enhance public spaces. Chris has taught art classes for teens and adults in Greenwood Lake, NY, and participated in several public art projects including Painted Pianos in Goshen, NY.
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Joseph Weinzettle has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Cooper Union and his Master of Fine Art FA from the University of Mississippi. A painter and draftsman, he works in natural wood charcoal, natural red chalk and silverpoint. In 2010, Joseph was Artist-in-Residence at the Everglades National Park and was awarded both Puffin and Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants in 2009. A Pittsburgh native, Joseph has resided on Florida’s west coast since 1992.
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Peggy J. Wertheim is an artist specializing in Surface Design on fabrics and papers: Traditional Marbling, Batik, Silk Painting, Shibori and Complex Double Dyeing. Her career began with the study of the batik process and color applications on natural fibers and continued at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio with the completion of a Master of Arts in Teaching. Ms. Wertheim’s fascination and inquisitiveness with Fibers and Color is reflected in her fabrics used in her Art to Wear and in her marbled papers used in her framed artwork and cards. Her work reveals a balance between her interests in nature blended with her study of comparative religions/philosophies.
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Glenn Woods has a Bachelor of Science in Arts from Indiana Central University and added coursework from Valparaiso University, Indiana. He taught for many years at the Century Art Center in South Bend, Indiana Art Center at Battlecreek and Broadripple Art Center. Glenn’s pottery classes are focused on Crystalline Glazed Ceramics. He owns and operates Pottery Boys Studios, and you can visit his personal website here: www.potteryboys.com.
Art Worth is a resident of Palm Harbor and has been making custom cabinets, furniture and started turning wood in 1992. He is semi-retired and presently employed part-time as GM of a private equity fund. He enjoys making all types of turned items and has won awards at juried art shows and the Florida State Fair. He enjoys making bowls of all sizes, peppermills, vases, lidded boxes, hollow forms including urns with threaded tops. Students will learn how to transform an ordinary piece of wood into a functional item or an art piece for display. Art is a member of The American Association of Woodturners and is the current president of the Tri-County Woodturners club. He is also a member of the Suncoast Woodturners.
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