Woodworking and in particular woodturning had been a slowly growing interest from my early teens after building a surfboard, kayak, and sundry small pieces of furniture. Exposure to an Uncle, who was an engineer and had built his own lathe, and who enthusiastically showed off the turned pieces he had made encouraged me to think about getting started into turning.
My first lathe arrived as a Christmas present from my two daughters in 1988 and was the start of a passion for learning new skills and techniques. That first machine did not last long and am now on my third upgrade, an Omega Stubby, which has all the functions needed for top level turning.
Over the following years my main interest has been "the bowl" in all its forms but there is always a need to produce spindle work as well as this is where repetitive work is required. A very good cabinet maker has me make all the turned pieces he needs for remedial work on antiques and his new work.
The major influences on my journey have been firstly a demonstration by David Elsworth at a Turangi Jamboree where he made a hollow form. This was my first exposure to non-utilitarian work and set me toward making artistic pieces that were just nice to look at and had no other function.
The second influence was reading a book "Bert Marsh Woodturner". Bert was a master of delicate thin wall turnings and particularly those with the natural edge of bark still in place. This style of turning is one I enjoy and continue when the right piece of wood is available.
Being able to turn a consistent thin wall thickness led to the next stage. An article in a woodturning magazine showing the delicate pierced and colourful work of Binh Pho was the major influence on my artistic journey. I contacted Binh and obtained a high speed dental drill from him that he used for piercing his work. Two years later Binh was demonstrating at Turnfest in Brisbane and this gave me the opportunity to see some of his work and to discuss and refine my work. Two years later I went to Arrowmont Art School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where Binh was hosting a one week course on embellishment of thin walled turnings and where I could refine the use of an airbrush for painting my work.
The amount of time involved in producing an art piece is considerable and some of my larger pieces have taken six weeks from start to finish and therefore only a couple of pieces are produced each year.