Just a little of what I have been up to lately.

 
I am just back from demonstrating at the Utah Woodturning Symposium in Salt Lake City. This was a new event for me and one that I enjoyed greatly. If you attended and have something to say about it please let me know what you thought on my forum page or if you prefer use  my contacts pages. For more details about the symposium please click here.

 

In April 2011 I attended the AGM of The Worshipful Company of Turners where it was announced that I am one of the recipients of the 2011 bursary awards. This award will enable me to attend the American Association of Woodturners symposium in Minnesota and also spend some time with Nick Agar whose work I admire greatly and is very different from my own. 

At the end of October 2010 I attended Axminster Tool Centre's 2nd Strictly Woodturning competition, here's what they said about it "Axminster Tool Centre put on its second successful Strictly Woodturning on Thursday 28th & Friday 29th October 2010 at the Axe Valley Community College (AVCC) in Axminster.

 A total of 110 delegates spent both Thursday and Friday (during the day) attending demonstrations by 11 world class woodturners. The relatively small groups resulted in a much more intimate atmosphere and delegates benefitted enormously from the ratio of delegates to turner. Delegates came from all over the UK plus a group from Germany and Norway.

Demo-ing during the day

On the Thursday evening in the main hall at AVCC, attended by 180 made up of delegates, guests, turners and staff, Axminster Tool Centre hosted its Strictly Woodturning event (a variation on a theme of the BBC's popular Strictly Come Dancing) which included a competition in which 10 of the turners competed against each other at the lathe and were tasked with producing items such as a vase, goblet and peanut box in incredibly short bursts of 6 minutes. The 11th turner, Ray Key (President of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain), took on the less than enviable role of Head Judge. At the end of the first round, the four turners with the most votes, as cast by the delegates in the audience, went through to the semi final. The four most popular were Nick Agar, Jason Breach, Les Thorne and Mike Tingey.

Based on scores in the semi finals given by the judging panel of 5, the final was contested between two well known personalities from the woodturning world - Nick Agar (showman and last year's runner-up) and Jason Breach (local lad and Axminster Skill Centre tutor). Despite creating lots of wood dust and complaining that someone had "nicked" his tools, it wasn't to be Nick's night and he was runner-up for the second consecutive year. Jason's calm approach won the day and the event by a narrow margin of only 2 points based on scores awarded by the 5 judges." Needless to say I was thrilled.

 The Evening "do"

In June 2010 I won the Masters Prize in the biennial competition run by the Worshipful Company of Turners, held at the Apothecaries' Hall in Blackfriars, London. Entrants were required to make A Pair of Presentation Boxes. The Master's Competition was divided into two sections, one for plain turning and the other for ornamental / rose engine turning. My entry to the competition was entered into the plain turning section.

More information/pictures/video is available at The Wood Haven or Strictly Woodturning

There are several other competitions organised by the Worshipful Company of Turners at the same time. These are the Felix Levy for freestyle turning, Open Competition for a Matched Pair of Eggcups, Ornamental Turning (Lady Gertrude Crawford, Fred Howe and H E Twentyman) and Pole Turning. Axminster Tool Centre sponsored the Fred Howe Ornamental Turning Competition. All of these competitions are held every two years. For more information please visit www.turnersco.com.

Also in June 2010 I attended the AAW Symposium in Hartford and I would like to thank Craft Supplies USA (whose stand I was demonstrating on) for their hospitality.

June 2010 was certainly a busy month for me. I feel strongly that children should be encouraged to try different things, turning being one of them. I started aged 12 and have never looked back. Along with another colleague from Axminster Tool Centre I visited one of our local secondary schools (Sidmouth College) to give a demonstration and talk. Please click here for their thoughts. Sidmouth College

In August 2009 I was awarded the Tony Bowse Memorial at the AWGB biennial seminar. At the seminar what's referred to as an "Instant Gallery" is set up from work produced by participating attendees. On the Saturday up to 6 pieces were selected and given an instant critique by judges Bert Marsh, Ray Key and Mike Mahoney. I entered 3 pieces of work: a fluted cube box, a jelly fish box and a box from my Orbital Ark series made of Goldfield burr. The Orbital Ark box was the one the judges selected to critique in front of an audience of more than 200 people.

 My thanks to the Daniel Collection for the use of this photo.