Wizardry in Wood 2021

Way back in 2019, I was invited to attend the 2020 Wizardry in Wood event as a ‘turner in residence’, meaning I would be present demonstrating turning – a bit of an honour to be invited if you ask me! But, we all know what happened in 2020 so I won’t dwell on that any further. This article includes photos I have taken, plus those of Matt Held from Kansas, USA.

But first, a bit about the event:

Some of the UK’s leading turners will be exhibiting including Jason BreachSally BurnettRon CaddyAngus ClyneMargaret GarrardPhil IronsTobias KayeCarlyn LindsayStuart MortimerGary RanceJoey RichardsonMark Sanger, Les Thorne and Colwin Way.

In addition there will be exhibitions of 400 years of turning in music, turning in magic and pre-historic turning, as well as curated talks on specialist turning subjects. There will be almost continuous demonstrations of plain turning by Paul HannabyMartin Saban-Smith and Pete Moncrieff-Jury, ornamental turning by Jean Claude Charpignon, Bob Wade and Tony Cliffe, and pole lathe turning by a team from the pole lathe turners. All entries to the Company’s 2021 Competitions will be displayed. The AWGB will display its travelling exhibition, and the Register of Professional Turners‘ stand will include a retrospective of the work of Master Turner Ray Key.

(from the Turners Company website)

Wizardry in Wood 2021, the quadrennial exhibition of the finest contemporary woodturning, returns with its fifth showcase in October 2021. Presented by the Worshipful Company of Turners, the 2021 exhibition (postponed from 2020) will feature some of the most skilled leading UK and international contemporary turners.

from the Craft Council website

Fast forward to 2021 and the event was rescheduled for this week.

Carpenters Hall on Wednesday 13th October

Arriving at Carpenters Hall on Tuesday 12th in good time to settle down before the evening opening by the Lord Mayor of London and other dignitaries, I took some time to look around the exhibition. Some of the best turners in the country are invited to exhibit and sell their work at the prestigious event every four years. You’ll see from the gallery below that the quality and excellence of the work by these turners is beyond exemplary.

Using a lathe and accessories supplied by Axminster Tools and Machinery, the resident turners were challenged by having to keep the shavings and dust to a minimum, so I opted to turn some of my delicate sea urchin ornaments.

To smarten up for the evening, I donned a shirt and tie but made sure it was all neatly tucked into my ‘trademark’ leather waistcoat. Safety first and all that!

The opening event on Tuesday was attended by the Masters, Clerks and members of the other livery companies of London. I had the pleasure of talking to the Master of the Fletchers Company and (I think) the Clerk of the Company of Needle Makers.

The standard of work in the competitions (the gallery above) was superb. The variety of items turned, techniques employed and sheer imagination of the turners who entered was very inspirational indeed.

Below are more of my own photos of the competition entries plus some taken by Matt Held who travelled from Kansas to the event and then had lessons with myself, Les Thorne, Mick Hanbury and Phil Irons whilst he was here.

After such an inspirational few days, meeting up with guests and exhibitors some of whom I had never met, I am now back at the workshop and work has returned to normal.

With all this inspiration flying around my head, it is difficult to decide where to go and what to try without blatantly copying something – but that’s one of the great things about the turning I do – coming up with something new or a personal twist on a theme seen elsewhere.

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