The Worshipful Company of Turners

Supporting the Craft, City and Charity for over four hundred years

Fabulous weekend at the Bodgers Ball

By Assistant Richard Lucas

The Weald and Downland Museum was the perfect location on a perfect weekend for the Bodgers Ball. Spacious and comfortable, the grassy hillside offered lovely views of the sunlit valley. I was very relieved to find that my mobile phone was entirely dead from lack of signal. Pole lathe and green wood workers came from far and wide, brought together by a passion for the countryside and their crafts. I especially enjoyed seeing the detail in the competition pieces and the log-to-leg and log-to-bowl challenges conducted at high speed and high quality. Additionally, there were chances to learn about basket weaving, corn dollies, and a fascinating lecture on spoon making from Liveryman Stuart King.

Liveryman Jon Warwicker and his consort Max showed me around. The Master and Mistress Turner, Upper Warder Andy and Consort Gerry Ewens, and Master Emeriti Batchelor and consort all had a very enjoyable time visiting the stalls, watching demonstrations, and marvelling at the competition entries.

Each day started gently with the smells of breakfast cooking across the site, followed by the sound of bodgers splitting logs, working their shaving horses, and beginning to turn. I participated in the competition scoring, which is a meticulously delivered process where double entry by a small army of volunteers ensures that pieces are fairly judged by an appreciative audience. As the day turned to dusk and then to night, the fire pits were lit, and the ceilidh began with singing, dancing, and beer in wooden mugs (we each supplied our own). To top it off, the valley offered the perfect view of the Aurora, and as we all made our way to put our heads down, the heavens delivered a spectacular and ever-changing ceilidh in the sky.

All too quickly, the Bodgers Ball was over, and I can’t wait for the next one in 2025.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Association of Pole-Lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers was created in 1990 by a group of a dozen like-minded individuals who wanted to promote the art of pole-lathe turning and green woodworking to the rest of the world.

The Association of Pole-Lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers is a “not for profit” organisation run by volunteers and forms a community dedicated to preserving green woodworking and heritage woodland crafts, skills and techniques for future generations. We also embrace more contemporary works with green wood in an aim to push the craft forward.

​Our main ethos is based on skill sharing, demonstrating, and education. We aim to making green woodworking and all its associated crafts enjoyable and accessible to all who wish to get involved.

Bodgers at the Weald and Downland Museum

About the Bodgers – Association of Pole-lathe Turners & Green Woodworkers


Copyright © 2024 | The Worshipful Company of Turners