The Worshipful Company of Turners

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Women in turning at Wizardry in Wood, October 2021

Female woodturners are in the minority in the woodturning world. This woodturning world, however, has been changing and evolving over the past few years at a very exciting rate. With many artists exploring new techniques and ideas, more and more exciting artwork is being created. Much of this extraordinary, beautiful artwork is being created by women.

Woodturning has never been so accessible as it is now, but not enough people know about it; we want to shout out about how creative, exciting and fulfilling working with timber and a woodturning lathe can be; with its, seemingly, endless possibilities.

On the Register of Professional Turners, we are privileged to have 11 women artists and the Register, in its 45 year history, has just appointed its first female chair. Not the result of gesture politics, but a clear, determined, positive drive from the RPT and the Worshipful Company of Turners to welcome women into woodturning.

Here we celebrate some of our female woodturners who will be exhibiting at Wizardry in Wood in Carpenters’ Hall in London, 13-16 October 2021. How better to inspire other females to join them in taking to the lathe than to view the exquisite works from these amazing women artists?

Sally Burnett
‘I am quite solitary in my making practice so the feeling of loneliness created by the isolation of lockdown was unexpected and impacted on the mindset required for creativity. I was ‘rescued’ from this malaise by a commission for Lexus UK to make a piece inspired by the Lexus RX plug-in hybrid. I was one of five makers participating in this Takumi project. The
process of design, development and making was documented on video and stills (a particularly challenging process due to lockdown and a very small studio space) and early in 2021 it was released on social media platforms as a short film. ‘With many of my usual routes to market closed or limited, it has meant that more time could be devoted to developing original work, with the exploration of new techniques and processes. The results will be launched in January 2022 in Paris, when hopefully we will all once again begin to socialise and flourish.
‘I was a bursary winner in 2015 and also became one of the emerging makers in the Crafts Council Hothouse scheme in 2016. ‘The tagline for my brand is the Art of Wood, distinctive, original and beautifully made. ‘I am essentially a designer/maker of elegant wooden vessels and sculptures for bespoke luxury interiors. I use native English timbers, usually from trees felled for land clearance or storm damage. Most pieces are lathe turned, often green, and then heavily carved and decorated. Many pieces incorporate precious gold, silver and platinum leaf.’

Joey Richardson
For Joey, quality is of paramount importance and involves just two factors. The first is the concept and the second is the execution. The concept, which includes the material, message and story of the artwork, must work in a symbiotic relationship with well-executed high craft skills and detail. Each of Joey’s creations starts with stimulation, inspiration, imagination
and the original thought. This leads to research, working out the concept and finally the execution. She never creates a maquette as all of her energy, excitement and inspiration goes straight into the passion and soul of the finished pieces. ‘Creating is my therapy, my escapism, I lose myself in the work. I feel excited and fulfilled seeing the piece come to life in my hands. I love exploring and illustrating stories through symbolic form and repeated motifs, breathing life into, and creating a soul for, each unique piece. My work is inspired by nature, life experiences and imagination drawn from my inner self.’ Nature and, more specifically, wood, is the driving force in Joey’s sculptural practice. It informs her themes and guides her expressions. From memento mori through mimesis via a mischievous wit, her delicate wood forms and contemporary, mixed-media sculptures are moulded by and seek to encapsulate nature. ‘It shapes me and, in turn, I shape it.’

• 2018 MA Fine Art. University of Lincoln
• 2016 made Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen
• 2015 QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) Award of excellence
• 2012 scholarship from QEST to travel back to America to cast my wooden forms in glass. This altered my life, taking my hobby into a full-time profession.
• 2005 Worshipful Company of Turners bursary funded travel to America and study with the late Binh Pho.

Joey’s specialism is combining traditional skills of woodturning with innovative techniques of piercing, texturing, airbrushing and carving so every piece tells a story and has its own soul. Her recent MA in Fine Art has added a theoretical depth to her work, allowing Joey to investigate the emotional, autobiographical and symbiotic relationship humans have with trees. The MA offered Joey the opportunity to experiment with different media, thoughts and ideas, so creating new approaches to the concept, execution and curation of her work.
Nearly all of Joey’s sculptural wood objects are created out of reclaimed sycamore. Using both her crafts skills and the material to achieve overall aims and objectives, her work has strong links to the history of the place and the origin of material.

Jay Heryet
As the new chair of the Register of Professional Turners (RPT), Jay won’t be exhibiting at Wizardry, but you can visit her on the RPT stand. Jay explores the many techniques of
woodturning. She particularly enjoys working with wet wood as this affords spontaneity, and working timber straight from the log provides endless joy and inspiration. Hollow vessels form the basis for much of her work; she will transform them by composition, manipulation and using them as a canvas for painting and carving. The precise nature of hand threadchasing is such a contrast; meticulous planning and timber selection is necessary for the success of each threaded piece. Whatever the item, form and attention to detail are paramount.
• 2018 Commission for Her Majesty’s 92nd birthday.
• 2013 Coronation Festival QEST Enterprises Exhibitor
• 2010 International Turning Exchange Residency
• 2010 QEST Scholarship
• 2003 Tony Boase Tribute Award
• 2003 won the Worshipful Company of Turners Bursary Award

Read the full article published in Woodturning 359 here (PDF)

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