Ghenadi Vasiliev was awarded a Turners’ Company Bursary in 2017. This enabled Ghenadi to study with four of the world’s leading woodturners: Rod Page and Mark Sanger in the UK; and Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaeghe in the USA. Ghenadi describes his experience in this report …
In July 2017, I went to spend a day with Rod Page in Somerset. We concentrated on techniques used in creating his beautiful lattice platters and vases.
Rod took me through the whole process of turning a blank to an Ogee shape bowl and cutting radial and horizontal grooves to achieve an amazing lattice effect with crisp and clean edges complemented by the flowing line of the Ogee design.
Rod also showed me his shop made tools and suggested some improvements to my current routing system.
We also discussed other aspects of being an art turner, including marketing one’s works and developing links with contemporary art galleries.
In August 2017 I went to train with Mark Sanger in his home workshop in Dorset. Mark is an acclaimed UK and international wood turner, artist and sculptor.
The course concentrated on the philosophy of artistic design with its particular application to the craft of woodturning.
Mark was a talented, engaging and enthusiastic tutor. Some of his students travel as far as from the US to be trained by him and it was a great privilege to work with him for two days.
We concentrated on ideas, theory and practical applications of his artistic style. We also explored different texturing techniques including a work with a high powered pyrographer, high speed rotary carver, power carving, scorching and other techniques.
We worked on different colouring techniques and applications of mixed media including loose gold leaf.
I found Mark’s course to be not only stretching my technical knowledge but inspiring in terms of shaping my mind to think and feel creatively. Nothing can escape an eye of an artist in the visible world and the process of artistic expression should never stale but be ever fresh, daring and engaging. This kind of philosophy was powerfully put across by Mark during his course.
Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaeghe
In November 2017 I spent ten days in Iowa with Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaeghe, two acclaimed woodturning artists.
All my training took place in Steve’s workshop in a quiet rural setting. I covered almost all techniques Steve and Joe use in creating their highly sought artistic pieces.
I focused on making three vases during my stay and the techniques I employed were carefully chosen after studying a vast portfolio of Steve and Joe.
We concentrated on creating the signature design line of a vase’s base, shoulder and neck and I also studied a range of woodturning tools and specific techniques used by Steve and Joe – some of which were new to me.
The whole approach to creating a new artistic piece was very interesting, creative, innovative and absolutely outside the box of my way of thinking – it was difficult to keep up with Steve and Joe.
We looked extensively at a huge array of decorative and embellishment techniques. These included: drawing very precise and mathematically complex patterns using specialised tools; gold and silver leaf gilding; patination; texturing media and using colouring agents.
We also looked at a high precision power carving using a dental pneumatic hand piece, air brushing; drawing with ruling pen; Rapidograph capillary type technical pens; liquid mask applications; silver leaf application and patinasation; and specific tool designs.
Between our workshop sessions, we visited local contemporary art galleries and museums and a local woodturning club where Steve and Joe are members.
My American experience was incredible, particularly witnessing first-hand the grand masters breathing artistic life into their pieces and being a part of that process myself.
I am enormously grateful to the Worshipful Company of Turners for its Bursary, which has given me this incredible opportunity to work with amazing grand master turners in the UK and USA.