Dear Fellow Turners
All right, I admit it! I am having an affair and my wife, Anne, the Mistress Turner, even encourages it … My love affair is all to do with wood, in particular turned wood … and I don’t mind who knows about it!
I started to collect small antique turned wooden objects in the late 1960s, but it was not until the 1970s that I purchased my first contemporary turned piece. It started innocently enough. I was walking through the craft tent at a County show when I noticed a stand displaying a number of contemporary turned wooden bowls. One particular bowl caught my eye. Although I was a Valuer of Antiques, I was unsure of the wood that had been used. On enquiring of the stand holder, I was informed that the wood was Cocobolo, that he had turned it himself and that it was for sale, so there I purchased my very first modern turned wooden bowl from none other than Ray Key, and I was hooked!
Fast forward to 2004 and many bowls later … I received an invitation from Ray to an exhibition of turned wood at Pewterers’ Hall in the City. This of course was the very first “Wizardry in Wood”. By that time, I was working in London and chairing the Arts and Antiques Faculty of my professional body, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). I was so “bowled over”, by the wonderful objects on show. I decided to write an article on this amazing exhibition for the RICS’s monthly magazine, The Surveyor.
That’s how I came to meet Assistant Penrose Halson, later to become the Company’s very first Lady Master. I knew nothing about the Worshipful Company of Turners of London. However, Penrose kindly invited me to a Turners’ lunch at which she enlightened me on the Company and asked if I would be interested in joining. My response was immediate; I could think of nothing more exciting. Little did I think that 16 years later I too would become Master of this historic Company
The wonderful thing about belonging to a Livery Company it is that in addition to all the work to promote the Livery, you also enjoy the rare opportunity of making new friends later in life who have similar interests. While chairing the Company’s Howe Committee I had the opportunity of being involved with another great institution, the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB).
I always looked forward to their biennial Seminars where I have met many new turners over the years. I also much enjoyed helping to raising funds for their youth training scheme and was both surprised and honoured when in 2011 AWGB made me an Honorary Life member.
In line with the traditions of Turners Company, I was elected Master on Ascension Day, 5th May this year and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I am well aware that the position of Master carries huge responsibility and I assure you all that I intend to spend this year using my best endeavours to promote Turners Company and the Craft of Turning, not only within the City, but throughout the UK.
We have an exciting year coming up, particularly with our 4th Wizardry in Wood Exhibition in October, again at Carpenters Hall. We want to make it the best Exhibition ever and its success will rely on as many
members of the Company as possible attending. The Mistress Turner and I greatly look forward to meeting with you and celebrating the ‘Art or Mysterie’ of Turning at this outstanding event.