John Dilley, Yeoman of the Turners’ Company
John’s fascination with woodturning started at school completing his CSE exam in woodwork aged fifteen.
He returned to the craft as part of his physical and psychological recovery from an industrial accident which left him with severe spinal injuries and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
From the accident John was paralysed from the waist down and it was feared he would not walk again, but after major spinal surgery to repair the spine, the feeling slowly started to return to his lower body and after three weeks he had full feeling back in his legs. Once things had settled John started to learn to walk again, first with walking aids and eventually unaided.
Woodturning played a vital role in his rehabilitation, using the lathe pushed John to focus and concentrate making him stand for longer periods and build strength in his legs. Woodturning gave him a purpose and sense of achievement. After three major operations with four bolts and two plates of internal metal work, seven years of rehabilitation, John was fit enough to return to full time work. Having benefited so much from woodturning himself, John would like to teach and help others especially those suffering from injury, illness, or PTSD.
John has worked for the past 26 years for a canoe and kayak manufacturer in North Somerset and is currently Operations Manager. His goal is to become a professional Turner, learning as much about the craft of woodturning as possible. In June 2017, a bursary was awarded to John by the Worshipful Company of Turners, and he was able to have training and equipment to improve his skill base.
John currently runs a small studio at a craft centre in North Somerset on weekends as Chesil woodcraft, the name “Chesil Woodcraft” derives from when he made his first ever sale of his turnings, he was living in Dorset right next to Chesil beach and the name has stayed ever since. His lathe is in the studio where members of the public can visit and watch him turn and purchase items made. John runs one-to-one introductory tuition on evenings at the studio to promote woodturning.
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