Jan Greenwald Gallery

A Window into the World of Fine-Art Wood-Turning & Carving

I am so sad to say that our Jan passed on June 22, 2022. I'm still crying so can't say much more right now.


Upon opening, I find the wood of many trees uninteresting, very little grain pattern, pale white to tan in color, especially young healthy trees. As trees age, they are stressed by natures many challenges, mostly insect and weather related.  Humans add extra trials with transplanting trees into new environments, whacking off limbs that grow to block the winter sun, failing to provide adequate food, or our expensive water. An internal life map develops as the tree struggles on, wood darkens, scars grow, covering over wounds. Add to this the natural darkening of wood as the tree ages, temperature swings and heavy winds causing internal cracks, and now global warming. All these challenges leave their marks, stamped inside the tree and clearly seen as I open them. 

Most makers cast these hunks aside, labeled as firewood. Some of us see only heroic survivors with lots of "beauty marks." We open them, exposing their insides, and reunite them with the humans that were once inspired by their youthful perfection. I love working hero logs, partnering with nature, the master artist.                  Jan



Primordial Tortoise

One does not question the artist's pull to form this creature over another. We simply feel the story as ancient earth forces emerge of their own volition and what is told runs like a deep thread through our underground cellular memory.

Tortoise: Steady and slow, enduring, protection, a lifetime of thoughtfulness given to each measured step.

1st Place DESIGN IN WOOD 2018

In casual phone conversation with Jan, he mentions that, he once again won not one but two first places for his wood turning at the Del Mar Fair this year. I want details. He's not even sure which piece it is. He chuckles dismissively at my excitement. I go digging through the www for information. I find it "Untitled" on the SDWTA site… what am I going to do with this man.

Jan Greenwald: 1st Place DESIGN IN WOOD 2018 Wood Turners Association
1st Place: Best Turning by a member San Diego Wood Turners Association

Waves and Sand Series

Reflective of gentle waves and sandy shores. 

A master of the fine art of wood turning, in this series Jan deftly incorporates the soothing sense of water and sand into his pieces, capturing a feeling of movement in the waves and soft foam washing upon the shores. From the richly detailed elements of a piece of carved driftwood to the hand-tooled sea foam, each piece is exquisitely turned and carved from one piece of wood.

The Camphor wood bowl (shown here) was recently accepted and exhibited alongside the works of several internationally acclaimed wood-turners, at the 31st International Woodturning Symposium at the Kansas City Convention Center, held on June 22-25, 2017, hosted by The American Association of Woodturners (AAW)

Camphor wood bowl - wavy ledge, driftwood detail - sold

Camphor wood bowl

Carob wood bowl - Seafoam & Ripples, 21" across - sold

carob wood bowl sea foam effect

Carob wood bowl wave and sea foam detail

Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with droplet handles, 23" across – $1,400

Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with handle Ash wood bowl wavy ledge with handle

Juniper wood bowl wave ledge, root detail, 24" across - $1,400

Juniper wood bowl wavy ledge Juniper wood bowl-driftwood-detail

Olive wood - Seafoam effect, 21" across - $1,200

Olive wood bowl -seafoam Olive wood bowl -seafoam-detail

Character of the Wood

Identifying that particular branch of the wood that contains within it the most interesting grain and unique characteristics is a skill Jan has honed and nurtured over the years. Most craftsmen would discard the wood Jan uses, considering it too flawed, but as you see the “flaws” add unique beauty and interest to the piece. The outcome is not always predictable because he follows the lead of the wood, allowing rather than forcing the design.

The prices range from $400 - $850 depending on complexity.

Olive wood Mortar, Pestle & Spoon

Mortar and Pestle with spoon

Apricot wood double bowl

Apricot wood double bowl

Olive wood bowl

Olive wood bowl

Olive wood bowl with ledge

Olive wood bowl

Three Women






Simply Stunning


Desert Reflections

In 2015 Jan was urged to enter a few pieces in the San Diego County Fair. It was no surprise to those of us who know his work that he was awarded second place for the Agave flower (turned and carved from one piece of wood) pictured in this row. He continues to exhibit at the Fair and to date he has been awarded five cash prizes.

Prices range from $500 – $1,100 

Cactus Remains

Cactus Vase


Agave flower

Agave flower- turned and carved from one piece of Ash wood.

Succulent dish with lid

Succulent Bowl with lid




The prices in this Diversity row range from $300 - $1,500 depending on complexity. Please note that no two pieces will ever be the same.


Pepper wood Sewing kit

Sewing kit



Carob wood dish

Carob wood dish

Olive wood bowl with bird carving

Olive wood bowl with bird carving

Cocobolo & Ash wood bowl

two tone bowl


[In Jan's voice] It is only on rare occasion that I accept a commission or plan a project. I like to allow the form to emerge as it will, rather than force the wood into my idea of correctness. Urns are the exception. I consider it a privilege to be asked to share in a grieving family’s experience. I try to talk with them, getting a sense of their needs while sharing my thoughts on wood. Frequently, we talk about the deceased so that I can hold him in my thoughts as I work. Then, putting aside what shape to make, I watch as the form emerges from the wood.

Urns are created by special order. Prices range from $750 – $1,500

Avocado Urn with Ash accent
I was commissioned to create an urn for the future ashes of a dear friend and her beloved dog. The urn is a double container with a chamber for each with two separate openings. The smaller, upper chamber is reached through a removable top. Below, a larger area was carved out with access through a bottom plate. 


Avocado wood Urn
Once “loaded” urns are rarely opened, the lid more ornament than functional. Because of this, I make many urns with a bottom opening and fixed top. The top and body do not separate; entry is through a bottom plate held securely in place with brass screws.

Avocado wood Urn with Ash band
I cut the wood for this urn from an orchard up on Wilt Road here in Fallbrook. You can see the green stone I embedded in the top as an accent.