Thoughts on Getting Back to The Lathe

The last piece I turned ‘for myself’ was on the 11th January! Since then only items turned in lessons have come in contact with the lathe. It’s time to get back to turning.

As I posted the other day, the shipping of Hampshire Sheen orders has been moved over to Amazon which will free me up to get back to turning very soon – next week, actually. Somewhere around 26th March, I would think.

It’s not just the lathe I’ve been missing out on. The social media presence you’ve joined me on has been largely missing, too. It’s all been down to being incredibly busy on the wax side of the business and facilitating the move over to Amazon – and believe me, over a drink one day, I’ll tell you the 3 month story of all the hoops and bureaucracy involved with getting it sorted out.

And whilst all this has been going on, I’ve been feeling guilty that I’ve not had the energy to post much or even engage socially. My head-space has been well and truly pummelled by the episode – and it’s not quite over yet, either.

So now there is light at the end of the spindle, what can you expect to be seeing when I get back to the lathe?

Sculptural Burr Pieces

For some time, I’ve been drawn to the challenges of burr turning, and in particular, those challenges faced with out of balance work and the shapes and designs that can be carved into them. So that’s at least one piece, or perhaps a dozen.

Other cuts from trees are exciting, too. Natural edge crotches, inclusions, even pieces that others would throw away are worthy of my contemplation for something to be made from them.

More Colour

You know I love colour, and you know I love putting it onto wood – but I don’t do it willy-nilly. Far from it. Each piece, of wood is considered for colouring before applying any at all. Which colour, and how much to, and where to apply is also considered. You can expect to see more of that, too. No wood is safe if I can bring something out of the piece so it fits with the vision I have for it.

There are pots of paint, colours and other accessories that have not yet seen the light of day, which really must get use before I forget what I bought them for.

More Texturing and Burning

Perhaps it would be more correct to say carving rather than texturing. Having given it some thought, ‘Texturing’ to me is more akin to the use of, perhaps, the Robert Sorby spiralling kit whilst carving is more concerned with the removal of wood. Making this difference more apparent may help people differentiate the techniques in my work.

Whatever it may end up being, there will be more of it, anyway! There are a couple of sketches in my notebook of pieces I have in mind which involve carving.

And burning, too. There has been one piece scorched/burned in the last six months that I can think of, and that was in a lesson demonstration just a couple of weeks ago.

There’s still the Lichtenburg-esque pyrography project I promised back in November to do, which I know many people are interested to see.

Maybe Some Simple Things, Too

It’s all well and good pushing yourself creatively to get to your limits and beyond, but creating something with a purely simple elegance can be just as challenging. This is when lines and form are ultra-important. A simple bowl for most people is an easy thing to turn.

To get the proportion right, and any decoration en-pointe, can deceive even an experienced turner. The fact is, that when a form is small, the smallest error looks enormous and could easily be missed on a larger piece. The smaller the piece, the bigger the inaccuracies seem to be!

There’s something very soothing about turning  piece that is . . . how can I put it? Pure, I suppose would be a good way. The purity of the lines, the simplicity of it’s form. The easiness of how a simple piece meets the eye is key, and here we go back to the paragraph above about inaccuracies.

And therein lies the challenge – to achieve the perfect lines that the final piece looks right to the eye, and feels right in the hand.

. . . and Videos, Of Course

Whilst all of the above is good, I will be recording a lot of the turning to share with you, too. I know you enjoy the videos I’ve posted in the past and I’m looking forward to entertaining and inspiring you more in 2018. Afterall, my #1 New Year Resolution was to turn more wood. So far this year, this resolution has spectacularly failed.

Roll on Next Week…

As I write this post, the ground on the way up to the workshop is treacherous with snow and ice, so today is a computer and admin day. It also gives me time to think more about the above, and make a few loose plans.

There are demonstrations coming up soon, as well as teaching, so the first opportunity to get back to the lathe for myself and to get ‘out there’ again will be next week.

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