Bissonette’s interest in woodturning began in grade school shop class when there were more teachers than lawyers. It lay dormant until adulthood when he acquired a lathe and began to self instruct, remaining on chapter one for many years despite membership in Western New York Woodturners where he witnessed the work of many superb turners. Pepper mills held a special fascination because of their combination of real utility and artistic expression. Finally in 2008 he resolved to learn. Early mills ground pepper but resembled fire hydrants. But with the support and generosity of the late Dave Elberson, proprietor of Buffalo Forest Products, the materials and equipment needed to develop some competence became readily available.
Concurrently he began to experiment with a variety of projects, techniques, and materials. Among his favorites are off-center or eccentric turnings done with unconventional use of conventional tools. Many of these, inviting a “don’t try this at home” caveat, are displayed here along with more traditional lathe pieces — mills, bowls, trays, wooden jewelry, etc.
His pieces are in use and/or on display at several sites in the area: the Burchfield Penney Gallery gift shop, Premier Gourmet in Amherst, the Sea Bar, Mike A’s, and Torches restaurants. All at one time or another pose at the home of his friend, George Schaeffer, who does the photography.