The last couple of days I’ve been in the heart of the city of London. Quite a change from Roger’s quiet wood.
‘Wizardry in Wood’ is an exhibition of the finest contemporary wood turning hosted by The Worshipful Company of Turners. The Company is successor of the Guild of Turners, founded in the 13th century. In 1604 King James I granted the Turners their first Royal Charter. The role of the company has changed over the years; today the company’s aims are to support it’s craft, the city and charity.
The Wizardry in Wood exhibition (at Carpenters Hall until Saturday 20th October 2012) hosts over twenty of the UK’s most skilled and creative woodturners showing their work. The exhibition also features important historical collections to show how the craft of wood turning has evolved during the 800 year existence of the Worshipful Company of Turners and it’s antecedents. The exhibition also includes all the work entered into the prestigious turning competitions of the Turner’s Company.
While the majority of the competitions are for power lathe turned items, there were two pole lathe comepetitons; one for a quaich and one for a talking stick. Being very fond of quaichs I did of course enter some of my work but didn’t expect for a moment that I’d win a prize at such a high-level event. So I was over the moon when I was called out to collect third prize just after Robin Wood. Robin was my original inspiration and the reason I started turning bowls on a pole lathe. He was awarded second prize. The best news of all is that my good friend Terence McSweeney was awarded first prize. A very happy day indeed.
Robin Wood was set up in the exibitors hall upstairs during the event, selling his wares and giving demonstrations of the craft of pole lathe bowl turning. I took some snaps of him in action. One of the challenges of setting up a pole-lathe indoors is that you can’t pin the pole down to the floor with wooden pegs as you would in the woods, so people get around this by using a bungee cord system. Here’s Robin’s bungee lathe set up in the hall.
And a few shots of him in action.
It was good to see Stuart King; he’s spent his life researching traditional woodland crafts among other things and is a fine craftsman.
He is a member of the same local pole-lathe turners group so I usually see him in a woodland in the Chilterns twice a year. He had brought along a version of Leoneardo Da Vinci’s lathe that he’s made.
Read more about how he made it by clicking on the link below…
Among all of Stuarts great work were some lovely little lidded pots. He turns these on an electric lathe. They’re very sweet.
Stuart King travelled in Romania where he observed Gypsy carver and pole lathe turner Ion Constantin turning wooden drinking flasks made for storing brandy. As far as he is aware Ion is the last person making these anywhere. Robin Wood has made some; he was with Stuart in Romania so was able to see the process. Terence and I have agreed to have a go at some point, using the video footage Stuart took of Ion as a guide. To see this fascinating film click the link below.
Here is a flask made by Ion Constantin which Stuart King brought as a gift from Romania for Nick and Katie Abbott; they have it on display at the exhibition this week.
The exhibition is well worth a look if you are in London this week. My entries to the competition will be on display downstairs and are for sale. Busy time of year for me with Christmas markets coming up. I’ll post soon about which markets I’ll be at and when; I’ll be mostly keeping local this year, (Hertfordshire), with only one or two London markets. As well as bowls, kuksas, spoons, shrinkpots etc I’ll also have some quaichs for sale. Having looked at a few nice examples recently I’ve some good ideas on how to make some really very lovely quaichs, so the next few I make will be better than any I’ve made to date. I’m also taking commissions for Christmas now.
Next post will be a late one about my time in Devon at the Steward Wood Community…seems like ages ago now but was just earlier this month; was a great time as always and looks like I’ll be living there for a couple of months at the start of next year, but more about that later.