The 2015 AWGB International woodturning seminar took place from the 7th – 9th August at Loughborough university.
We are bringing you five International wood turners of note and five of the top woodturners from the UK circuit, and as a new approach we are also offering a number of shorter, supplementary presentations and demonstrations from a range of people. All this will be supported as usual by our ever popular “One-Slot” demonstrations from woodturners who are stepping up to the International seminar stage for the first time. So there will be more choice, and a wider scope in terms of the type of demonstration/ presentation you can enjoy.
The Instant Gallery was as popular as ever, showcasing the vast range of high-quality work from turners from the UK and elsewhere around the world. Many exhibits were selected for our usual travelling exhibition and for the upcoming Trowbridge exhibition. Photos of the selected pieces can be seen here
AWGB INTERNATIONAL WOODTURNING SEMINAR 2015 PRESENTERS LIST
Ashley Harwood currently lives in Charleston, SC, where she sells her work and demonstrates woodturning weekly at the Charleston Farmer’s Market. She teaches woodturning at her studio in Charleston and has demonstrated in a number of professional venues throughout the US and abroad, as far away as Australia. She received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon with a focus in sculpture and installation, and her design aesthetic is heavily influenced by her background in glassblowing. Ashley’s works are completed entirely on the lathe, without carving, texturing, or burning. She uses simple, classic forms along with distinctive design elements that result in an approachable body of work with a high level of craftsmanship. Primarily, she makes utilitarian bowls, ornaments, and jewellery. Her teaching has a strong focus on tool control and sharpening.
Cynthia has been a maker from childhood and showed a strong desire to design fashion early on. She created clothing, painted shoes and made jewellery for her friends. Cynthia has worked as a photographer’s set stylist, food stylist, and shop manager for a master hand engraver, visual merchandiser for a major jeweller and as an early childhood teacher. As her former husband, Michael was discovering woodturning; Cynthia was his constant companion at symposia and meetings. She longed to be a part of his hobby but had no desire to turn herself. In 2008, the couple sailed with the Norwegian Woodturning Cruise. Cynthia joined British Pyrographer Bob Neil in his booth and had a go with the wood burner. She had finally found her way to embellish or “dress up” Michael’s wood turnings! With no hands on instruction available, Cynthia purchased books on pyrography and with study has developed her own unique style of Pyro-engraving. Cynthia’s love for fashion and design proves the perfect inspiration for her work. She looks at the tunings as little bodies to dress. The Gibsons’ highly embellished collaborative teapots have gained international recognition. Cynthia is in high demand as a teacher and her pyro-engraving techniques are taught to students from around the world. Her work has been published in many journals nationally and internationally. The artwork created by Cynthia Gibson and her collaborators has garnered the attention of many collectors and has been included in corporate and private collections. Her work is sought after by high end galleries throughout the world.
In his early years growing up in Essex, England, Michael helped to construct wooden sailing yachts along the banks of the River Crouch. Mike was fascinated with the skill of the master boat builders and spent most of his time in the boatyards. A love of wood working and construction followed Mike throughout his life. Moving to the US in the eighties, Mike began a career as a finish carpenter and later a home builder. After minor surgery and being told to slow down, Mike spent time tinkering in his workshop with an old lathe and a set of less than desirable old turning tools. A new hobby was born but a new lathe and tools were mandatory! Mike bought himself a Powermatic lathe, a few good turning tools and taught himself to turn. Mike studied for many years to perfect the craft. Michael is recognized internationally for his turned and carved teapots. Michael and pyrographer Cynthia Gibson have also collaborated to create beautiful teapots with lovely surface embellishment. Michael and Cynthia were featured demonstrators at the American Association of Woodturners International Symposium in 2013 and received high honours as recipients of the “Award of Excellence” for one of their pieces. Together they have demonstrated for numerous chapters of the AAW and have been feature demonstrators around the world as well as in several States symposiums. The artwork created by this duo has garnered the attention of many collectors and has been included in corporate and private collections. Their work is sought after by high end galleries throughout the world.
Ambrose O’Halloran is a maker, woodturning demonstrator, woodturning teacher, and a woodturning writer who began woodturning in 1993. Ambrose is interested in craft education in its purest form and says, “the philosophy I follow is best summed up by a quote from W.B. Yeats “Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire”. First and
foremost, I am a maker. I make both functional and one off artistic pieces. I believe strongly that craft is the bridge between technology and art. This is the essence that I want to bring to my work.
Ambrose has demonstrated widely in Ireland and the UK, and is a past AWGB one-slot presenter.After his demonstration received such good reviews we felt we had to invite him back again to fill a main presenter slot.
A former technical manager in industry, today Jean-Claude dedicates himself to the full time to the creation of beautiful objects in wood using various complementary techniques such as turning, sculpture and painting.
Fascinated by the expertise and creativity of European ivory turners during the 17th and 18th centuries, he designed and built over the years, tools with which he tries to express the contemporary value of our predecessors’ skills.
Jean-Claude is an active member of the French Association of Art location on Wood, the Society of Ornamental Turners headquartered in London, Ars Mathematica in Paris, the American Association of Wood Turners, and Ornamental Turners International USA.
AWGB INTERNATIONAL WOODTURNING SEMINAR 2015 PRESENTERS LIST
Nick Agar is an internationally renowned wood turner, author, writer, demonstrator and teacher, and has taught and demonstrated in Australia, South Africa, America ,Canada , New Zealand , and across Europe. His multi-textured turned wood sculptures have earned him a reputation for producing highly individual and beautifully crafted art.
He has inspired many woodturners and is well known for his teaching and demonstrations.
Having worked with wood for more than 25 years, he has a great understanding of his medium. Inspired by organic forms, pottery and his natural surroundings, Nick specialises in surface enhancement. He is renowned for his wall sculptures and his award-winning work often incorporates carving, airbrushing and metalwork. When he is in the country Nick runs woodturning courses at his riverside studio in Devon and is also a tutor at the Axminster Skill Centre.
In addition to exhibiting, tutoring and appearing at international conferences both as a demonstrator and a judge, Nick is in great demand for commissions from collectors and galleries. His range of clients includes HRH Prince of Wales and the royal jewellers, Aspreys. Pieces of Nick’s work, including his signature wall sculptures, have been featured on both the BBC and ITV.
The turning point in my life came in 1989; relocation to Yorkshire with the firm I was working for as an accountant or redundancy and a new career direction? I choose the latter and with the aid of the Government Employment Training scheme began training with a professional turner. During this period I took second prize for turning in the National Eisteddfod of Wales; first prize went to my tutor!
I began by specialising in high quality turned decorative and functional bowls and individual vessels using simple designs to bring out the natural beauty and variations in colour, texture and figuring of local timbers. As each piece of timber is an unknown quantity before being turned I worked with the wood. A cliché maybe, but it is a relationship that develops between initial ideas for a piece and inspiration drawn from the timber as it reveals itself.
My work is now more an exploration of line and form than an effort at an artistic statement and it continues to amaze me how each minute refinement of a curve can alter the character of a piece. I strive to achieve a perfect form – or at least something a little closer to it than anything I’ve done before. There is always further to go. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office commissioned a piece from this series of work as gifts for the Foreign Ministers attending the Cardiff European Summit in 1998 hosted by the UK as President.
In 2003 I was invited to participate in an eight week residency in Philadelphia, the International Turning Exchange (ITE), working with others selected from the international community to focus on advanced technical innovations, aesthetics and techniques. This experience had a profound affect and changed how I approached my work. Inspiration was drawn from other mediums and disciplines from outside the world of turning leading to more sculptural forms. The use of pale timbers and colouring techniques made the form all the more important rather than how it was produced. Wood is still my choice of material to work with and initially turning the method of creating the form but it is not always obvious.
At 7 years old I started working with wood. All I have ever wanted to do is be a maker. Having worked with paint, fabrics, clay, metal, plastic, I finally settled down to work with wood, this wonderful warm and tactile material.
I trained at Wolverhampton school of art, studying 3 dimensional art and design, wood, metal and plastics. This is where I started sticking materials together and making boxes with beautiful stripy jointed corners; his lead to me creating laminated wooden blocks that were colourful but balanced with contrast and visual energy. I began turning them on a lathe and was excited at the result.
In 1989 I was able to start my business with a grant from the Princes Youth Business Trust and a bursary award from Wickes DIY. In 2004 I received a bursary award from The Worshipful Company of Turners; this funded a new lathe, enabling me to further develop my work.
The whole process of producing an object for me is important, from designing and planning, the attention to symmetry and being able to visualize the outcome, then selecting the wood, usually English sycamore and gluing it together with beautiful coloured veneers.
The big buzz as I am turning the piece of work on my lathe, is to see it emerge from a gluey lump of wood, to spring to life, the coloured lines so clean and bright appearing to crossover and weave in and out of each other; then finally carefully applying the finish. I can see my fascination of circles and lines working together. The satisfaction is enormous. The design is permanent.
I enjoy making pure and simple forms with the addition of a complex laminated element to enhance. I take pleasure updating traditional design, bringing an ordinary object into a contemporary world.
Originally trained as an engineer in the aerospace industry followed by 12 years in the Police during which time, 2000 I started turning and soon had work accepted into local galleries.
In 2004 I left my career to pursue turning full time with emphasis being on hollow form and lidded vessel turning in both pure wood as well as experimenting with colour texture and more recently sculptural forms where the lathe is only being used as a part process.
My work is influenced by nature and Far Eastern Culture.
Turning has taken me to America, Australia, Ireland, Spain and around the UK where I have demonstrated and been invited to several wood art collaborations.
For some years now I have written articles on the subject of turning for ‘Woodturning’ GMC publications as well as having my first book ‘Turning Hollow Forms’, published in 2014. I also teach students at my workshop as well as supporting the AWGB youth training program.
Andy Hall is a well known turner on the UK circuit, perhaps best known for his turned wooden hats. Andy has had exhibitions in two galleries in the North East of England: The Biscuit Factory, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Blagdon Mill, Northumberland.
Andy was initially inspired after reading an article in the Woodturning magazine about a turner, Johannes Michelson, in America that made full size hats that you could wear, after having tried several times to make hats Andy had the opportunity to see Johannes demonstrate in Ireland at the Irish woodturners Guild and his full size hat making took on a new dimension with the techniques he received.
He has taught and practiced woodworking associated crafts for over twenty years to apprentices and now teaches privately in his workshop at home.