2017 has been an interesting year.
I flew to England and visited with Mike Bain, a member of the Society of Ornamental turners. Mike gave me a grand tour of his shop and Windsor castle. He even introduced me to Jack Cox, a well known British turner, who wrote the book “Beyond Basic Turning”. We had a lovely visit.
I then flew to France and took another class with Jean Claude Charpignon at the Ecole Escoulen, in Aiguines. With his help, I improved my techniques for making Chinese Balls and made one 100 mm in diameter, with 13 spheres inside. At the end of the week, I traveled with him to his home, where I had a marvelous time. With he and his wife Francoise, we travelled to the Grand Palace in Paris, where we saw a multitude of wonderful exhibits including those of Alain Mailland and Pascal Oudet. The size of the building and the layout for the artists was amazing. On another occasion we spent a day in Paris and visited a host of places such as the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame cathedral, the Museum d’Orsay, and the Louvre. We travelled to the city by train and then around it by boat-bus. It was over whelming!! Returning to his home, we worked a bit with his ornamental lathes and I learned several new things. During that time, a number of his friends came and I taught a three day class in air brushing. They were a really nice group of folks.
When I left France, I flew back to England and spent a week with Stuart Mortimer in his home. It is in a quaint English village where the majority of roofs (including his) were thatched. He and his wife Linda are lovely folks. We attended a club meeting where Joe, one of Stuart’s students, did a turning presentation. It was very well done. I was very interested in their youth program and how well it is working. Stuart introduced me to how he casts parts in silver/pewter. He is amazing. Near the end of the week, I met their son Andrew and their grand-children. The young lads were like a breathe of fresh air and left me with hope for the future generations. Andrew is himself a very, very talented visual artist. His portraits are exceptional! If you get a chance, do google him and see for yourself. Before I left, Stuart and I got a chance to go hit some golf balls. Despite his cross handed grip, he hits amazing long and straight shots. I wish there had been time to play a round at one of the local courses.
My flight from England to Holland was a bit rough and I missed the connecting flight home. KLM very kindly put me up in a first class hotel in Amsterdam. I took advantage of the time and hired a cab to show me the main features. It is a place I may have to re-visit.
On returning home, I found that the construction of the new sewers and water lines on our street was still on-going. I will be glad when it is all done and I can clean my house properly. Several turning jobs awaited my return – mostly for the new Gordie Howie bridge being built. For the engineers, I have been making pigs for cleaning the conduits and other things. They have definitely been a challenge to my skills. I have also had a number of classes both at home and at the Lee Valley store to teach. I hope to get back to some of my own creations in the near future.
The year has not ended, but I am sure it will be busy and packed with new experiences. I will keep you posted.