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Anatoly Tsiris, artist 

Anatoly Tsiris is a first-generation American from Ukraine, Russia. He is an artist. He works with large pieces of lumber cinched in a lathe the size of a Cooper automobile.

Anatoly is a little scary looking but his works are not. His turned urns are stout, solid and formidable like their creator and, unlike him, they are delicate, highly-polished and speak the universal language of beauty without an accent.

Tisris is an artist to watch and to buy, if you can beg, borrow or steal your way to the $1,500 -- $8,000 it'll cost you for a bowl or urn. Few pieces of art encourage touch, but his luminous orbs do. Because I've seen the pieces most often in an art gallery setting many approach, reach out and stop short of a light fingered caress. Except the kids. They've got more sense. They rub and "Ooh" and "Ahh" with their hands. I spoke with Anatoly:

Who taught you how to do this?

"Nobody. I try myself."

Where do you get the wood to turn?

"People bring me pieces. They call with, they think, good pieces. Walnut, Maple. Sycamore. Cherry. Local.

When did you come to America?

"1989."

Why?

"That's long story. Another time, maybe."

How do you feel as you make the work?

(Long pause) "I tell you a secret. It's like drug."

What do you think about?

"You think about the piece, how to make. What it looks like."

Do you have a day job?

"This is my day job."

Anatoly's face and head are nicked and scraped from dings suffered hovering over his whirling logs. Chunks of wood spin at 400 RPM's and occasionally a chunk flies off, and even less occasionally one whacks him. After a seven-stitch mishap last year he's trying to work more carefully.

"I work with no more dry wood. Green wood only."

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