Green wood inspiration: turning with wet wood

Swamp maple gobletThe ‘greenwoods’ of the Chiltern Hills have been a source of inspiration to me. I enjoy them in all seasons and all weathers, I’ve experienced the ever-changing ambiance that misty mornings or shafting sunlight can bring, and that mysterious period just after the sun has set. It’s from these greenwoods I’ve known from childhood that my raw material comes from. The Chiltern Forests are renowned for their Beech but it’s Sycamore, an interloper of recent centuries, that I use for much of my turned work. Not only is my timber from the ‘greenwood’ but I also turn it ‘green’ – working with ‘wet’ wood is both pleasurable and a challenge. Continue reading

The Chair Bodgers of Buckinghamshire

Reg Tilbury as a young manThe old chair bodgers of Buckinghamshire are now relegated to history, the last few of them doggedly clinging on to their traditional way of life until the late 1950s. I have been privileged to know some of these craftsmen from the Beech-clad Chiltern Hills and have spent many a cosy hour by their firesides and in their disused workshops sharing their old tales and dry sense of humour. They are all gone now but their legacy is every where. You are supported by their craftsmanship every time you sit in an old Windsor chair. Every leg, spindle and stretcher contains the spirit of these men, the essence of the Beechwoods is still there and if those turnings could talk they would speak of spring Bluebells, red Squirrels and autumn winds. Continue reading