wizardry in Wood 2012

Wizardry in Wood


The big one, Saturday 20th October 2013


This was the third time this show has been put on in 2004, and was held in Pewterers Hall and then in 2008 as now in Carpenters Hall, at Throgmorton Avenue, London Wall Junction, half a mile southwest of Liverpool Street Station.


We have been looking to go to this show since it first in the Woodturning magazine back in July and the Holtzapffel collection in the August edition.


So off to Ely Station to find out the costs etc, the advance price for the return trip was £19.


Saturday 20th arrived and off to Ely at 7.50am, park car, ticket from machine, waited for train at 8.38 changed at Cambridge and off to Liverpool Street. We arrived at 10.14, a short walk out of the station, to Bishopsgate right at Wormwood and on to London wall. Carpenters Hall was on the left and a bit posh.


We paid the man £6.50 each on the door, put our jackets in the cloakroom and on the ground floor a room of competition pieces. You would not believe what people are capable of! Also in a long wall cabinet a selection of late great, Bert Marsh’s turnings.


Along the hall towards the very posh staircase, there was a lady demonstrating a pole lathe, I think the same lady was at Weird and Wonderful Wood back in May.


Up the stairs we went, stained glass window ahead, round to the top to a large landing, where above us hanging on a wall was an enormous carved crest of the Worshipful Company of Turners, about 6’ by4’ and 10 inches thick, it took five years work and was out of this world.


On entering the main hall I could see a large carved tree on a 30’ by 20’ veneered panel, I was just getting ready to take a photo when, hands aloft, we were met by Dennis Hales. What a lovely moment.


Into the main hall we went, first on left to Joey Richardson a lovely lady, a lot to aspire to. Bob Chapman, the last time we spoke to him was at the Fakenham Seminar, he was with his wife. Dennis Hales with his gorgeous large platters and bowls with fruit. Carlyn Lindsay with her pretty coloured laminated pieces. Les Thorne with some of his coloured and textured pieces. Margaret Garrard was new to me with some pierced pieces with airbrushed gannets on them. In the corner, Tony Walton and Guy Ravine with an assortment of their works. Dennis Keeling with segmented pieces, ark Hancock had his display, Paul Coker had some unbelievable ornamental lathe turned displays with a 12” diameter in Lignum Vitae, a highly decorated Wassail Bowl with lid and finials. Peter Archer Hollow forms carved and stained, Gregory Morton, bud vases from Fence Posts and Sustainable Woods.


Also Rosemary Wright, (I don’t think she was related to Fred) with contemporary square and rectangular pieces. Gary Rance with some fancy bull-nosed headed walking sticks plus lots of turnings.


Stuart King had his green Leonardo Da Vinci wooden treadle with flywheel (Replica of circa 1480), which he demonstrated on now and again; Stuart also had lots of items a seen in the Woodturning Magazine.


Ray Key, what a gent! I had never spoken to Ray before; he gave us a long chat about his turnings, woods and his life – magic. Nick Agar had some really good pieces; coloured platters, a hollow form with carved gear wheels also some pendants and other items.


Back in October at an all day demo with Dave Reeks at the Ely Club, we heard some yarns, about the terrible fifteen who meet at Stuart Mortimer’s own workshop, about some of the tricks and bits they got up to. He really painted a black picture of Stuart. I said to “Dave you wait until the next time I meet Stuart, that time had arrived! “Hello Stuart what’s all this I have been hearing about you and an angle grinder on a scaffold pole, so you could sand deep into a hollow form?) “You have been talking to my safety officer haven’t you? But do you know why he is my safety officer? It is because he has had more experience with mishaps” It was a great giggle with this top man, he had his Faberge style eggs, turned and decorated, also his large spiral hollow forms and finials.


In an adjacent room there was a collection of turnings; a 3” round parrel (round ball) as part of the Mary Rose collection, it was still wrapped in NASA packaging (pink polythene) that had been on board the Space Shuttles last flight. Also on show were bowls and utensils. The Mary Rose sank in1545 and was raised 30 years ago.


The Holtzapffel collection was out of this world.  These fantastic items in ivory and lignum vitae (p67/68 of August Woodturning magazine) are kept in the reserve collection at the Kensington Science Museum and hidden for decades. I have a lot of admiration for the ornamental turners withal of the fine detail etc.


Also at the end of the room were the pair of Royal Thrones, as used at the Jubilee Pageant onboard the Spirit of Chartwell barge on the Thames backing June.  The reason for them being there was, the Turners Company gave the six finials that are on the back of these thrones, they were turned in oak by Stuart Mortimer in the shape of a Chalice topped with an acorn with spiral fluting round the rim, coloured red to match the red velvet and gilded. It was so nice to talk to all of these professionals and idols of turning.


What a day, best yet, four years seems a long time to wait! A short walk back to Liverpool Street Station. We chose “Wasabi” Food bar for Chicken Chow Mein for Norma and beef in black bean sauce and rice for myself, served in a box, just the job. 10 minutes later, train for home.


What a magic day roll on four years time


All the best

Howard Dyson

PS Next Show is Detling March 9/10th

By Ron Davis on March 2nd, 2013