HOW IT ALL BEGAN
My passion for woodturning started at school when I was 14. Dad organised a family whip-round and I received a lathe for my Christmas and 16th birthday. One that is still useable.
For many years I have thoroughly enjoyed the demonstrations and camaraderie of being a member of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB) , the Middlesex and Cheam Woodturners Associations and the Society of Ornamental Turners.
I enjoy writing articles for their newsletters.
Since 2003 I have run the library for the Middlesex Club, which I started in memory of my Dad. It is now thought to be one of the largest in the country.
THINGS I MAKE
These are decorative and functional pieces. I particularly enjoy the challenge of making one-off items either from builders’ offcuts or unusually shaped wood, especially those with wild grain patterns. The wood is mainly from trees, which either have fallen or those which have to be taken down because they have grown too big for their surroundings.
In 2014 I started making dishes with straight and curved grooves on the top surface, which I have developed into different designs. Another future project is different shaped items using an MDF Rose engine.
Like all turners I have given turned pieces to friends and organisations which have given me wood. These include the Friends of St. Mary’s Church, Perivale out of the famous Ash tree which blew down in their grounds, for Members of Ealing Quaker Meeting House out of their old pitch pine benches, and St. Mary’s, Walton out of the old oak belfry frame.
EXHIBITIONS AND SALES
I show my work at exhibitions organised by the Middlesex Club, Harrow Open Studios, BEAT Borough of Ealing Art Trail , local craft fairs, and by appointment at my home in Ealing as well as accepting commissions. Pictures of my work are on my various clubs’ websites.
TALKS AND DEMONSTRATIONS
I give small public demonstrations at the Middlesex Club’s exhibitions. I really enjoy getting the spectators involved in designing the piece , which they often take home after giving a donation to Harrow Gateway, the club’s charity.
I have led critique discussions of a wide variety of turned items for the Middlesex , Cheam and North London Clubs.(See the June 2019 E-shot on the Cheamturners website, AWGB Revolutions No 130, and the Autumn 2019 Bulletin of the Society of Ornamental Turners.) I am happy to do this for other clubs too.
I have been the subject of four films by trainee documentary directors for the BBC Academy, and an observer at the North London Group’s excellent AWGB Demonstrator Training Day.
Gordon Cookson, Middlesex Club Chairman since November 2019
Tel: 07854 623 812