Ornamental turning is a craft which is slow and time consuming, but it also delivers great pride for a piece well made, and is a hobby you can pursue in many directions. I know that I am looking forward to retirement when I can spend more time on it.
When I obtained my lathe, the friend in England who found it for me suggested, "Now that you have your lathe, I recommend two things. First, retire, and second, teach your wife to sharpen the cutters." Only the first has come about; the second is still a somewhat onerous task.
Ornamental Tunery : A Practical and Historical Approach to a Centuries-Old Craft, by Frank M. Knox
Ornamental turning is a bit of a niche in the woodturning community, and can be exasperating when trying to get started. The goal of this website is to present information in a way that enables the new ornamental turner to get started in an easier way than we experienced. After a while, this site may prove to be too entry-level for someone who is experienced in this wonderful craft. If this site helped you get started, and you enjoy it, then the goal has been achieved.
If you are seeking information about the history of this truly wonderful craft, a great place to start is A Brief History of Ornamental Turning. Other sources include the British ornamental turners' site, The Society of Ornamental Turners, and the American one, Ornamental Turners International.