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Wizardry in Wood 2021

Colwin Way

My woodturning journey started over 35 years ago as a hobby after a 3 week work experience placement with a local production woodturning workshop.

This hobby soon turned into a career after leaving school when I was approached by the owner of the company to become his apprentice, where I went on to serve 5 years turning all manner of items such as bowls, vases, lamps and walking sticks down to the smaller items like jewellery lace making and sewing utensils, in a multitude of materials including Wood, bone, jade, jet, horn and ivory.

After completing my apprenticeship I went on to become a full time woodturner doing much the same as in the apprenticeship, however here I was able to add another string to my bow. After realising that I was out-growing my existing workshop and an offer of a job managing a farm came up, near the little cottage my wife and I were living in. I moved to the farm workshop and divided my time between the farm duties and woodturning. Now this was a blessing as the farm was a poultry and timber farm, so this meant I was put through several types of chainsaw and forestry courses including the extraction of selected trees with heavy horses but also was able to select the best bits of timber for turning. A wonderful life with just my Jack Russell and Massey Ferguson tractor to keep me company.

Then 22 years ago my woodturning life took another route when I was approached by a local tool company (Axminster Tools and Machinery) to take over the teaching of their woodturning courses. Now 22 years later I still work for the same company teaching and demonstrating all things woodturning but also work as a freelance woodturning demonstrator and author.

As well as the UK my work now takes me all over the world to countries including USA, Australia, Norway, Germany, France, Sweden, Holland, Ireland and Spain. One of my continued ambitions is to grow this list and travel to as many places I can.

I’ve been lucky enough to write for ‘Woodturning’ magazine now for over five years and have enjoyed the experience. If I was to say what my style was I would have to say I don’t have one. I make and sell a variety of work however, I have become known for my love of all things Christmas and have been heavily influenced by the wonderful craftsmen of the Erzgebirge region of Germany, following one of my woodturning adventures there. I find the people I meet on my travels are all different and the countries you go to all have different turning cultures however the difficulties are all the same and I find myself explaining the Skew and Bowl Gouge an awful lot.


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See Colwin telling his story and talking about his woodturning journey (Youtube)

Colwin Way

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