Wood Turner Carmie K. Acosta was born and raised in San Antonio. By day he works as a synthetic organic chemist specializing in steroid synthesis. His foray into wood turning began in the year 2000 when his father passed away. Growing up, he was surrounded by woodworking and the associated woodworking tools. In his retirement years, his father became a prolific wood turner. While he never actually taught Carmie to turn, he got a feel for it by observing. Upon his death in 2000, his father had a mostly completed piece on the lathe which Carmie parted off and finished the bottom. Prior to that, the last time Carmie had turned wood was 8th grade shop class. Shortly thereafter, he began to turn his own pieces and in no time, became addicted. He works mainly with native Texas woods; mesquite being his favorite, in addition to mesquite, he's worked with pecan, mountain laurel, plum, honey locust, cedar elm, hackberry, Arizona ash, bois d'arc, peach and an occasional piece of FOG (Found on Ground) wood. Most of the wood he turns is salvaged from wood piles or from tree trimmings. The various forms that Carmie turns are dictated by the size of the wood, grain structure and the presence of defects (i.e., cracks, knots, bark inclusions, etc.). These can provide for some very dramatic effects in the finished piece, either alone or through augmentation with a variety of fillers. Carmie finds it particularly challenging to turn pieces of wood that most turners throw in the burn pile. None of Carmie's turned pieces are identical, as no two pieces of wood are the same. "The art of turning is being able to see the bowl or vessel that lies in that spinning chunk of wood."