Last weekend was the annual meeting of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners and Greenwoodworkers. We have been members since there were only a few dozen folk but now there are about 500 members and over 250 turned up for a weekends log bothering. Last year the same weekend we were freezing in Northumberland but this year the event was just North of Oxford and in glorious sunshine.
Nicola and I ran a “whittlers corner”, and area where folk could come and work with knives and axes safely and we also had a series of workshops where folk could learn the basics. All the workshops were oversubscribed and with the help of our friend Eric Rogers we taught 120 folk over the weekend.
I love to see the way carving this way appeals to all ages and possibly more women than men, it is very empowering since you need few tools, no dedicated workshop and the basic skills can be picked up in minutes though they can be built on for years.
There were lots of other interesting things to see over the weekend, folk run races to see who can make a pair of chairlegs fastest from a log, the winners are around 10 minutes. We were pretty busy most of the time so didn’t get to see much outside our marquee but my favourite object of the weekend was this lovely little ladle which a chap brought to show me. He bought it in Exeter for £2.50. In the antiques trade they are known as punch ladles or toddy ladles and some are very fine, this one is a real beauty and has obviously sen many years use. They would be very difficult to turn, the handle spinning round slows everything down and prevents you getting close to the work when speed and a closer toolrest are just what you want to turn fine things like this. The bowl is maybe 4cm across.