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Graeme Priddle - Demonstration

By Ian Outshoorn on November 21st, 2011

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Well what a weekend. Saturday we made the trip down to the South Auckland Woodturners Guild in Papatoetoe to see Graeme Priddle in action ( Graeme is a very well known New Zealand turner who showed us some of his "tricks" used in his sculptural, multi centred turnings.

While these are very cool, the best bits I found, was the thinking that is behind the art. At some stage, as a woodturner, you have mastered the basic techniques involved in getting a chunk of wood round and start to look beyond the basic "brown and round" turnings. Graeme shared with us how he progressed to the point where he is internationally recognised for stuff that is very definitely not brown or even round.

Sources of inspiration are natural surroundings, especially the sea and coastal environments. Being able to see up close some of his Waka series was very illuminating. The absolute precision in the placing of each branded Koru inside the hull was very impressive. When a turner like Terry Scott asks how he achieves this sort of perfection, it shows Graeme's mastery of his subject. The answer was quite simple, as it is most times. Time on the lathe (10,000 hours was a common answer to most of these types of questions), combined with an ability to concentrate for long periods, accounts for a lot.

Graeme has also been able to spend time around the world with a lot of very different turners which I'm sure has been a big source of inspiration. His demonstration was well worth it for the time and money spent. This is why the National Association of Woodworkers (NAW) has sponsored demonstrators tours of New Zealand. This way we get to see some really good turners without leaving NZ and we can support the NAW by joining up (I am a member these days).

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On Sunday our Guild, the North Shore Woodturners Guild (NSWG), had a marquee at the Glenfield Santa Parade. I spend the day on a small lathe churning out spinning tops. One keen boy scout used his new watch to time me and I was able to make them in 80 seconds. Boy talk about getting my skew skills upgraded
(used a 1" roughing gouge to get it round and a 2" Skew to do the rest). Always seemed to have a crowd of kids, young and old :), around the lathe. As soon as I'd finished one, there was always a volunteer to see if it passed Quality Control. If they used their manners I'd let them take it home (most did, which was good to see). The other members were kept busy selling Turnings and Toys (we have some very talented woodworkers in the Guild) that had been made for the Fund raiser. None of the wooden toys were left at the end of the day. I think we may have even ended up with some potential new members, which is always good for the Guild. Needed to go back to work on Monday for a rest :)