A new career in the art of woodturning

Retiree Ken Hager has been supporting the Food Bank through his passion for woodturning for more than a decade.



Ken Hager hard at work

Greg Bollinger

 

Some artists spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. Others start in their 60s. Local woodturner Ken Hager waited until retirement to pursue his lifelong dream. 

Hager had always been fascinated by the works of art that could come from a raw piece of wood. But leading a 43-year career in health care administration and raising a family left him little time for hobbies. After retiring as vice president of Saint Francis Hospital, Hager asked himself, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”

Enrolling in a woodworking class at Tulsa Tech, Hager decided, “An old dog can learn new tricks.” Now with more than two decades of experience in his craft, Hager finds artistic satisfaction by discovering beauty in unexpected places.

“I love going to the city dump to find a piece of wood that someone has discarded and turning it into a lovely piece of art that will last for decades,” Hager says. “Many times you don’t know what’s going to come from it. Sometimes you have to start turning and see what the wood will allow you to do.”

Hager’s craft also has given him opportunities to support charitable causes. Ornate wooden bowls crafted by Hager and other members of the Northeastern Oklahoma Wood Turners Association will be available for purchase through the live and silent auctions at this month’s Empty Bowls Dinner. Proceeds will benefit the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

“Our woodturning club has donated pieces to the food bank for over 10 years,” he says. “It’s such a great organization that we are delighted to donate to.”

 

April 24 — Empty Bowls Hunger Awareness Dinner

5:15 p.m., doors open; 7 p.m., dinner. Cox Business Center, 100 Civic Center. $75, tickets; $1,000-$25,000, sponsorships. Benefits Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. okfoodbank.org/events/emptybowls

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