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Slow Turning

Slow Turning / Saturday 11th July 2015 - Saturday 22nd August 2015

This exhibition will feature leading artists working in wood, willow and natural fibres.

Many of the artists featured employ traditional wood turning techniques which are pushed to the limits to produce sculptural, contemporary vessels and forms. All talk about their love of wood and natural forms.

Exhibitors include Anthony Bryant, Lizzie Farey, Eleanor Lakelin, Malcolm Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Pascal Oudet, Wycliffe Stutchbury and Kazuhito Takadoi.

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“Superb forms that didn't disappoint in the flesh.…”


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Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling make sculpture in wood, from half-ton monumental forms for a secret garden, to vessels sewn together from sections of veneer weighing a few grammes.

For Slow Turning Malcolm and Gaynor will show work from their new Bend series.

“These new pieces are from the ‘Bend’ series, begun in Philadelphia in 2013 on our residency at The Center for Art in Wood. The ‘Bends’ use the flexibility and tensile properties of commercial ply-board as the basis for vessel forms. A single sheet of board cut to shape is bent into a curve and stitched together at the edges. The faces of the board used for the carved pieces are designed to be hidden from view, but in these vessels complex wave patterns have been carved into the soft wood using a variety of shallow gouges. The wood (of unknown species, as are those of much commercial board), has a rich pinky-yellow colour, and takes a gouge well, although once bent into shape, there is considerable tension on it, and extreme care has to be taken when bending to avoid cracking. The shape itself is created through the resistance of the board to bending, resisting against the stitching holding the curved edges together. Forms are developed using paper patterns to model and adjust the precise curves.

The crane’s foot stitch pattern used on many of the vessels is a strong and decorative one used in traditional Japanese bookbinding. These vessels are also the first pieces to have full bottoms stitched in.”

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Eleanor Lakelin uses a lathe and carving tools to make vessels and sculptural forms in wood. Having spent her childhood in a small village in Mid-Wales, she now lives and works in London.

“I am interested in the way natural elements and processes layer and colour wood and how the passage of time is etched into the fibres of the material. I peel back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material itself or build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting. I use the vessel form and surface pattern to explore the layers and fissures between birth and decay, the erosion of nature and our relationship to the Earth.”

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Anthony Bryant is internationally recognised for his unsurpassed work in ‘green’ woodturning. He creates work which stretches the potential of the material to its furthest limits – both in scale and in his unrivalled ability to turn to an absolutely breathtaking thinness.

‘I am not concerned with function in my work. Instead, I prefer to explore the sculptural potential of the vessel at the physical limits of woodturning. My driving aim is to create powerful forms with poise and presence.’ Anthony Bryant, 2012

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Pascal Oudet is a French woodturner, working near Grenoble, France, who has developed a signature style turning very thin pieces and sandblasting them to transparency, creating a delicate lace effect.

‘I find part of my inspiration in the effect found on weathered woods and stones. Sun, rain, frost reveal the inner structure of the material. In my pieces, I also try to work with these characteristics on wood, playing with the grain through various surface treatments to reveal its character. By working on carefully selected trees, I create very thin pieces that I take up to transparency, creating a real lace out of wood which emphasizes all the history of the trees I’m working with. Most of the time, I have a precise idea of the piece I want to create, and then look for the wood that will render the effect I’m after. My work is primarily created on the wood lathe, but it is just a small part of the process. The tool is never a limit, only the imagination.’

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I make contemporary sculptural baskets inspired by the shapes and forms in nature. Some of the work is functional; bowls and vases woven using a random interlacing technique, which I have developed over many years.

Other work is purely sculptural, spheres and nest-like forms, made in such a way that allows the inherent qualities in the materials to show themselves.

I use local materials that I gather in the hedgerows or grow myself in nearby fields. This includes coppiced hazel, ash, larch, heather and about 20 varieties of willow. Sometimes I include seed heads or pods of wild materials that reflect the Scottish landscape where I live and work.

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Wycliffe Stutchbury’s delicate landscapes are studies in texture, colour and process. He is led by the nature of the material, its textures, fissures and colours, and he maintains an intuitive approach, rather like stacking firewood. The work is an expression of wood’s fragile and yet robust ability to document the past.  Each piece is constructed in discarded, found or forgotten timber sourced from one location, that place providing the title for the work.

‘I attempt to explore methodology, and the direction of the work and the final outcome is very responsive to my mood and my working conditions at the time. Sometimes I will work thinking that I have to go in half an hour, or I will work in very poor light. By restricting both palette and intervention, I aim to expose strength, fragility and history. The origin of the material I use is central to the work, the sense of place, provenance. Each piece is constructed in discarded, found or forgotten timber sourced from one location, whether that be floorboards from a Victorian terrace house or a branch of sycamore found in the scrub that fringes the fields on the South Downs. That place will give the title to the work.’ Wycliffe Stutchbury

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Having finished my studies at Hokkaido Agricultural and Horticultural College at Sapporo, Japan, I moved to the UK to further my studies at The Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley.

Nature is both my inspiration and my source of material, which is provided in abundance from my garden and allotment. There are no added colours, everything is natural, simply dried then woven, stitched or tied.

To me shadows are an important dimension to my work and as the light changes or the point of view is moved, so the shadows will create a new perspective. And because the materials I use are natural the colours will alter with time adding another layer of interest.

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Your Comments

  1. Matt / Ireland

    Superb forms that didn’t disappoint in the flesh.

  2. S.A / Liverpool

    The best woodturning I’ve ever seen!

  3. Kenneth / Liverpool

    Amazing technical skill combined with artistic vision. This stuff is hard to do!

  4. A.B / Liverpool

    Exquisite work!

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