Woodturning has a long history as a craft but there are many folk who also push the boundaries into the art world. The Wood Turning Center in Philadelphia USA has been a focus for the best wood turned art for many years and every few years organises a showcase of the best woodturning in the world at the time. I was thrilled when I had some pieces selected for their “challenge V” exhibition in 1998 and “challenge VI” in 2001. Today is the opening of “challenge VII” and I again had a piece selected making me the only English turner to have had work in the last 3 exhibits.
When I saw the original call for pieces I thought I would not enter this one since the exhibition is called “dysfunctional” and artists were intended to submit pieces which comment on, lampoon or satirise functional objects. I am unusual in the woodturning world today in being dedicated to making work that I hope is used in peoples daily lives and wanted to comment on the importance of functional woodware in western cultures historically.
My “piece” then is a great pile of 1000 waste cores that I have collected over the last couple of years. I make one of these every time I make a bowl, it is the last bit in the middle that is snapped out and discarded. These cores are more common archaeological finds than bowls and many have survived in the ground for over 1000 years from the period when everyone ate from wooden bowls. The cores are accompanied by a video made by Nicola showing me turning a bowl and the finished core being knocked off the mandrel into a waiting pile on the workshop floor. I hope it brings a few thoughts about the positive aspects of functional work into the “dysfunctional” exhibit. We called it an installation and gave it the name “Cor blimey”