Posts Tagged ‘woodturning’

A good turn: bringing out the beauty in recycled native timbers

Monday, August 14th, 2017

David Gillard of WoodgrainNZ is passionate about the manipulation of timber, creating interesting designs and revealing the natural beauty of New Zealand native and exotic timbers. In his Auckland workshop David handcrafts unique artistic and functional pieces that are predominantly created from recycled timbers sourced in New Zealand.

DSCN8371 blog

woodgrainnz vase blog

woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz

What do you make?
Wood art, hollow forms, wall art and kitchenware.

How did you get into your craft?
I did a building course in 2011 and loved the finishing process and fine detail work with timber. And decided that building wasn’t really me, in that it wasn’t detailed enough. I started out making furniture and then moved onto kitchenware and I’m currently working on pushing the boundaries of wood and art.

I enjoy… taking a raw piece of wood, figuring out the best way to show it off and then seeing it all come together.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No. I am self taught with regard to wood turning and have gained knowledge and skill through planning, research, and of course trial and error.

Your favourite, tools and processes?
My favourite timber is Black Maire. I enjoy the process of planning what type of piece I am making and then taking a raw piece of wood, figuring out the best way to show it off and then seeing it all come together.

Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces.
Milling timber is the biggest part of my work. A tree is cut down and then the centre pith of the tree is removed and cut into slabs. I then cut to rough blank, then the timber is sealed at the ends with wax so that the timber can be stored for 6-12 months. This prevents the wood from drying out and cracking.

DSCN8358 blog

woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz

Then I cut it down on a bandsaw and roughly wood turn it down to its rough size and store it again for 6-12 months so that the wood can dry out to about 6% moisture content. This process reduces the piece moving and warping once made.

When I am ready to use the wood I turn it on the lathe to its finished size and apply finishing textures and colours. Finishings include a lot of sanding, gold leaf, colour dying, woodburning and applying a finishing coat of wax, stain or polyurethane. If I am creating a laminated piece, this will involve gluing and clamping different timbers together first before turning.

What inspires you?
Learning and finding new ways to do things that push me to make things that have wow factor.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Big time. Showing off our native giants that have been around for hundreds to thousands of years. They are a big part of New Zealand’s history and they shaped New Zealand’s landscape.

woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz
woodgrainnz

A little bit about my Remembrance Skull…
This skull represents our New Zealand native trees over hundreds of years being chopped down and made into things. A lot like the Mexican celebration that remembers the dead. This is my way of showing my appreciation of these old giants. I’m so lucky to be able to work and show these timbers off through my works and make them be appreciated again for many years to come.

As I mostly deal with recycled or rescued timber it’s nice to be able to take something that was or intended for floorboards for houses or, even worse, firewood and design it into a piece of wood art.

The skull has Pohutakawa and Kowhai flowers, a couple of types of our native ferns, our almighty Kauri tree leaves, and the four stars from the Southern Cross.

Lastly I’d like to say I do understand there will be people that will think the skull is a dark or negative symbol, but this was not designed as that but more of a positive symbol for remembering some of these ancient giants that were covering New Zealand and are now getting harder to find.

Special thanks to Geoffrey Kerr for taking my rough idea in my head and putting it to pen to paper – looks so awesome and I’m so proud of it. Again thanks mate.

woodgrainnz koru sphere blog

woodgrainnz candle holder blog

Describe your creative process?
Jump in with two hands and don’t be scared to make some firewood along the way.

Describe your workspace
Some people say that it’s like a hobbit workshop. Lots of little spaces and wood and sawdust everywhere which is how a wood working shop should be! LOL.

Five words that describe your mind
Determined, focused, striving, inventive, experimenting.

…it’s nice to be able to take something that was… floorboards… or, even worse, firewood and design it into a piece of wood art.

Your favourite feedback from a customer
“To David/Woodgrain NZ… Please don’t ever stop making these wonderful works of art. Everyone here in Haldensleben Germany who has seen them loved the design and colours. Cheers Steffen.”

What are you currently listening to?
Anything NZ, 1814, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Katchafire, The Black Seeds, Herbs, Electron etc.

What was your favourite childhood book and why?
Badjelly the Witch. It just always cracked me up all the funny characters. We had a book and the vinyl record.

What are you reading now?
Ellsworth on Woodturning: How a Master Creates Bowls, Pots, and Vessels by David Ellsworth and Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon.

A favourite quote
“You learn something everyday if you pay attention.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

woodgrainnz rimu spoons blog

woodgrainnz honey sticks blog

Tell us about your pets?
We have suburban chickens, brown shavers. These girls help me get rid of all the wood shavings I create in the workshop and they are pretty good at supplying us with eggs.

If you were a craft superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
What do you mean if I were a superhero! I am a superhero and my super powers are highly classified. (Of course. Sorry to put you on the spot there. -Ed.)

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do you research into the market. Learn all you can about what it is you are wanting to do. Find people that you can bounce ideas off and test the market. Never forget the reason why you started and never stop telling your story.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A beany hat from the local market. Had it custom made by two lovely older ladies. I wear it all the time when I can find it.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
Taking all the ideas and techniques that I have been working on and putting them all together and getting lost in my work. Keywords: 2017, onwards, new, big, amazing, out there.

DSCN8380 blog

Prize draw!
David has generously offered an awesome prize for one lucky Felt reader of a stylish Kauri pepper mill, valued at $165.00 (see above). This gorgeous blue-green dyed, hand turned mill stands a smidge over 30cm high, making it a superb dining table statement piece.

To be in to win this great prize, simply leave a comment telling us what you loved about David’s story and his creations. The draw will be made on Friday 25 August and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from WoodgrainNZ’s Felt range here »

 

woodgrainnz pohutukawa bowl blog

Woodworking workshop in the Bay of Plenty

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Heads up Bay of Plenty makers! Here’s your chance to develop your green woodworking skills in a fantastic weekend workshop.

During the weekend of 16/17 September 2017 experienced craftsman Richard Lees will tutor a greenwood course in whittling, pole-lathing, branch furniture jigs, shave horse and draw-knife, and carving techniques.

The workshop will take place at a beautiful site in the Lower Kaimais, Bay of Plenty. Come and experience the greenspace and birdsong, walk barefoot in the grass, and learn some amazing traditional skills.

Woodworking spaces are very limited to a maximum of eight woodworking participants, but non-woodworkers are most welcome to join the camp and enjoy the space. Find out more.

hobdid blog

Inspired by nature, crafted with skill: turning for spinners from Whimsy Wood and Wool

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Tedge of Whimsy Wood & Wool has a passion for creating with natural materials. When she’s not working with pieces of wood, wielding a paintbrush or spinning up glorious fibres, you’ll find her in the garden where she and her husband, Arnold, enjoy growing fruit, vegetables and herbs for their kitchen (and their friends).

whimsywood blog

What do you make?
I design and turn wooden shawl pins, spindles, nostepinnes, tapestry bobbins, threading hooks and other tools for spinners and fibre crafters. I also dye silk fibre for spinners and felters, blend fibres into spin-able rolags, and sew knitting project bags. In my spare time, I spin yarn, knit shawls, felt bags, sew clothes, embroider pictures, paint and draw, amongst other things.

How did you get into your craft?
I have enjoyed art and crafts since I was a child, studied art at high school and took up spinning in my late teens. I first started woodturning as part of my Visual Art and Design Diploma at EIT Hawkes Bay, back in 2001. My major was in 3D, particularly working with wood and metal, and making quirky furniture. I got involved in the local woodturners club and for two years I learned to turn bowls, boxes and rolling pins. My main aim was to turn items I could decorate. I hit pause on the woodturning for a few years while in France, and concentrated on sewing, painting and embroidery. It was after our return to New Zealand, that we both immersed ourselves in a woodturning club, in Christchurch this time.

whimsywood
whimsywood
whimsywood
whimsywood

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Yes, I completed the three year Certificate of Woodturning in 2014 with the Christchurch Woodturners Association. Our amazing teachers Noel, Rex and Bruce taught us a wide range of skills, techniques, and decorative effects. They encouraged us to think creatively, work safely and pay attention to detail and finish.

My graduation piece was a set of spindles with a carved and decorated stand. My aim being to include as many learned techniques as I could: spindle and face-plate work, resin, coloured wax finishes, Dremel carving, pyrography, painting and more.

As well as a diploma in art, I have a BSc in Zoology, which has helped me in the way I look at the natural world and how it works, from the humungous to the microscopic, inspiring me in my creative processes.

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Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite turning tool is my small skew chisel, and for carving and detailing I love my Dremel Micro rotary. I prefer making smaller items, though it is still very satisfying to turn a large bowl.

I enjoy the turning itself, as well as the decorative effects such as pyrography and colouring. I can lose myself for hours in these processes. My favourite timbers are Kauri, Ash, Oak and sometimes Rimu.

Tell us about the techniques involved in producing a turned wood piece.
Firstly I plan out the item and draw it to scale. I think about the purpose of the item, and the aesthetics. If it is a functional item, for example a spindle for spinning yarn, it must be balanced in order to work well.

With an entirely new product, I will make some prototypes, experimenting with shapes and measurements, making more drawings as needed. I consider which timbers are best to use for grain pattern, strength, aesthetics, and suitability for decorating. As most of the wood I use is either recycled from buildings or old weaving frames, or wood from tree pruning, my decisions are often dictated in part by the size of the timber available. It is not my aim to produce “factory” products, but to maintain a handcrafted flavour.

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work in progress blog

What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me, from architectural shapes to textures and details in clothing and textiles, but especially patterns and colours in nature.

I am also inspired by the materials I work with, whether it is the feel of wood and the grain pattern, the warmth of wool, the smoothness and sheen of silk fibre. Sometimes it is not a visual stimulus, but a smell, a sound, a texture or a conversation that takes my thoughts off towards something more tangible. I am often inspired and driven too by the need for a new product, a new tool, a new way of making or doing something.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Yes, I like to work with natural materials as much as possible, whether it is wood, wool, silk, cotton, linen, hemp. I use polishes, dyes, and paints which may not be natural, but I steer clear of anything toxic which may be dangerous in its application or in the end use.

I aim to create pieces which reflect my passion for nature, and hopefully pass that on to the user of the product. I love that people who spin with my spindles, wear my shawl pins or keep things in my bowls tell me how much they appreciate the character of the timber from which they are created.

Describe your creative process:
Inspiration and ideas tend to come in a flood when I am in a creative frame of mind. New thoughts for shapes, decoration, or a new development, a new method of making something, a whole new “invention”. I scribble down sketches and annotations so I don’t forget and can develop the ideas later.

Describe your workspace:
I have several workspaces. The woodturning workshop is by necessity shared with Arnold, and contains a workbench, lathe, and various tools. My sewing nook is at the front of the bedroom; my art desk, storage and bookshelves in the spare room; and spinning, weaving and felting area at the front of the lounge! A bigger house would be useful…

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hooks work bench blog

Five words that describe your mind:
Creative, determined, focussed, humorous, multi-tasking.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I love, love, love spinning with my beautiful new spindle!”

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I don’t recall having a favourite. I do remember at eight years old walking to the library every day to get out the maximum three books, reading them and getting another three the following day. I still love to read.

What are you reading now?
Ken Follett’s World Without End. It has more action than I would usually go for, definitely more violence (I had to skip over one part) but it is an interesting and exciting book. As a bonus, the processes of weaving and dyeing the scarlet cloth are a vital part of the story, as one of the main characters, Caris, experiments with the best way to use madder to produce colour.

A favourite quote:
“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse.
We can often have creative ideas, but it can take courage to act on them without being afraid of failing, or of criticism. It also takes hard work, dedication and determination. And a lot of chocolate and the occasional cider.

Tell us about your pets:
We have five large goldfish who get grumpy if we don’t feed them, and a worm farm where all the worms are called Ethel and Fred.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do something that you have a passion for. Start small, grow steadily, don’t be shy, just get yourself out there. Create good products from good materials, and sell them for a price which reflects that. Believe in yourself, and don’t undervalue your talents or your products.

whimsywood
whimsywood
whimsywood
whimsywood

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
On holiday in Vietnam last month, we were in the mountain region of Sapa. I bought a length of handwoven hemp fabric from one local H’mong weaver, and a length of handwoven hemp with indigo dyed batik from another. I wanted to buy from the craftspeople themselves, so they get the whole amount of money, and so I have that direct connection with the maker, the region and the country when I use the cloth.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
I am working to replenish my stock of spindles, both suspended and support spindles, plus Kauri shawl pins and tapestry bobbins. I want to build up a stock of wooden yarn bowls, and I have a number of new products up my sleeve. Many other ideas are zooming around in my head or scribbled in my sketchbook, waiting for time to try them out.

I will be trading at the Creative Fibre Area in Homebush on November 19th, and I have applied to be at Summer Woolfeast, to be held at Halswell Centre on November 25th.

I have just become involved in Pay it Forward, a lovely art and craft co-op in Nancy Ave, Mairehau, and will soon add some turned bowls to my shawl pins there. I also have shawl pins at Wool Yarn Fibre, the Creative Fibre shop at the Tannery in Woolston, and at my brother-in-law’s gallery Alfred Memelink Artspace on the Petone Esplanade. I have plans to add other products to these places as soon as I can, and of course to have a wider range of products in my online Felt store.

whimsywood giveaway blog

Prize draw!
Tedge has very kindly offered a great prize for one lucky Felt reader of a Whimsy spindle turned from recycled Kauri, with a hand-formed brass hook (see above). The spindle weighs 22g and the whorl has a diameter of 52mm. Perfect for spinning a fairly fine yarn, this little spindle spins smooth and fast. So that you have some fibre to spin, it will be accompanied by a pack of corriedale rolags with a dash of silk and sparkle. Total value $49 includes postage within New Zealand.

To be in to win this awesome combo, simply leave a comment telling us (a) what you like about Tedge’s products and (b) what yarn crafts you enjoy, or would like to try next! The draw will be made on Friday 28 July and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from Whimsy Wood & Wool now »

 

Tedge Memelink blog

A pinch of this, a dash of that…

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

We love these beautiful pinch pots from Gwyneth Hulse Design, hand-turned from New Zealand Tōtara and finished with food-safe tung oil and beeswax polish. They’re perfect for holding salt, pepper, or spices, or as pots for rings and earrings.

Purchase yours today!

ghdesign blog

Easter eggs that last forever

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Personalised wooden Easter egg by The Elves & the Woodbotherer

Start a new tradition this Easter and commission a special personalised wooden Easter Egg from Woodbotherer. These beautiful keepsakes come in a variety of designs including this lovely hand drawn Peter Rabbit image, and they can be personalised with a name and a small flower on the back.

Be in quick – order for New Zealand Easter delivery by 18 March for standard post or 21 March for delivery by courier.

 

Order your personalised Easter eggs now »

 

Hidden within a piece of timber…

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Macrocarpa bowl by Trees Set Free

Otago-based wood turner Peter of Trees Set Free started wood turning 18 years ago. He finds joy in revealing beauty hidden with a piece of timber and “setting it free” by crafting the wood into lasting items to be used and enjoyed every day. This small bowl is made from a piece of macrocarpa, revealing soft golden tones and a striking grain.

Macrocarpa bowl by Trees Set Free

 

See more from Trees Set Free »

 

I like big bowls and I cannot lie

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Large Cloud Bowl by The Busy Finch

Bell Bowl no.19 (edition of 10) by Nicholas Duval-Smith

Celedon Breakfast Bowl by Peter and Kirsty

Shallow handturned walnut bowl by Trees Set Free

Large Cloud Bowl by The Busy Finch | Bell Bowl no.19 (edition of 10) by Nicholas Duval-Smith | Celedon Breakfast Bowl by Peter and Kirsty | Shallow handturned walnut bowl by Trees Set Free

Featured seller: Trees Set Free

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Woodworker Peter Kenney was born and bred in Hamilton. He lived in seaside Raglan for eighteen years, during which time he took up woodturning. His Felt shop, Trees Set Free, is inspired by the idea of releasing the beauty hidden beneath the bark – the colours of the timber and patterns in the grain – and crafting it into lasting items to be used and enjoyed. His two daughters haven’t caught the woodturning bug yet, but he’s working on it!

treessetfree small cherry wood platter

What do you make?

I like to make wooden items that have a practical use, that become a part of everyday life, but that also bring some of nature’s beauty into people’s homes. I enjoy making bowls, honey dippers, rolling pins and platters. Small lidded bowls that make great jewellery boxes are a lot of fun to do. The potpourri bowls that I make have been very popular, and as I often tell people, they’re far more attractive in your house than a cheap plastic air freshener or a spray can.


How did you get into your craft?

I’m a trade qualified fitter/turner, so I guess that it made sense to take up a hobby that was similar in many ways to what I was doing as a job, so about seventeen years ago I signed up for an evening class at Wintec in Hamilton and completed a twelve week course in woodturning under the guidance of Fred Irvine. Fred’s an amazing teacher and quite a legend in woodturning circles, and the inspiration I got doing that short course with him has made woodturning one of my biggest passions.

treessetfree rimu tea light holder

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Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?

The closest thing to formal training I have is the twelve week course I completed at Wintec. I’m currently the President of the Waikato Guild of Woodworkers and I find that the opportunity to learn from other members of the club who have amazing skills and passion for woodwork is wonderful. The sharing of knowledge and ideas within the club has been an important part of my development as a woodturner.


Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love working with native New Zealand timbers, but almost any timber can have amazing beauty hidden inside that just needs to be set free.

Describe your workspace:

Chaos! The busier I get, the messier my benches get, until eventually I can’t put a finished item down safely without it getting damaged, so I have no choice but to clean up, and then start the whole cycle again.

treessetfree detailing


What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from seeing what other turners have made. Some of the work that is consistently done by several of New Zealand’s best turners is mind blowing, and often seems to be so far beyond what is achievable by a normal turner. That just challenges me to try and get better at what I’m doing. I’m also inspired by the look on someone’s face when I present them with a special, one-off, unique gift that I’ve made for them personally.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:

For me, the best feedback I can get is when someone wants to take a piece of my work home with them. It’s especially fulfilling for me to know that there are many pieces of mine in cities and countries around the world. The idea that someone would take one of my simple woodturned items home with them to London, Chicago, Boston, Canada or Australia is just the best compliment I could get.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading a pile of woodturning magazines from the last few years. These are great for ideas and inspiration. If I wasn’t reading these I would probably be reading an action/adventure novel by someone like Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Jack Higgins or James Patterson.

treessetfree prepared blocks

treessetfree group 1

Do you have any pets?

Yes. Have a cat that thinks that our sole purpose in life is to serve her and make her comfortable.


Who is your hero/heroine?

This would have to be my wonderful wife, Lara. She has been so totally supportive of my woodturning. Never objects or complains when I show her the latest and greatest in tooling that I “just have to have”. She has spent many a freezing cold, frosty or wet Waikato morning at local markets with me selling my woodturning without a murmur of discontent.

Peter has generously offered a prize to one lucky Felt blog reader of this beautiful hand-turned walnut pen with gold plated fittings. You can see more of his lovely turned wood pens here, and his full range of work on Felt here. If you’d like to be in the prize draw, just leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about Peter’s story and his work. The draw will be made on Friday 20 June and is open to New Zealand residents only.

treessetfree walnut pen prize draw