Many moons ago, I was asked if I would take a month’s slot at Ty Siamas, as the guest artist on display. Based in the nearby market town of Dolgellau, Ty Siamas is the National Centre for Welsh Folk Music, and also houses a popular retail outlet for locally made art and craft-work.

Our “slot” had been arranged a year or so ago and I’d forgotten the details about it, then out of the blue came an email reminding me that I had just 24 hours notice of setting up; oops! Now that posed a problem; with lots of stock at Artworks Gallery, in Aberdyfi and with some good sales over the recent bank holiday, the shelves were already looking a little bare, there was too much white paint showing! Added to that, I’d taken some time away from the lathe to prepare for and then undertake a demonstration of turning at a club in Liverpool last Tuesday, then the better part of a day shopping in Oswestry on Wednesday, so not much had been done to fill the gaps.

The result was frantic and some long hours spent turning. At my demo in Liverpool, I’d shown a method of making a 2-part turning, in this case a tall vase. It started off as a single piece of yew log which was turned to the outside shape that I wanted, then cut into 2 pieces to allow the inside of each piece to be hollowed and finished, before gluing it back together to finish the outside. It might sound like a long-winded process, but it’s an ideal method for inexperienced turners to make something that might normally be outside their skill-base, or require tools that they don’t possess.

One drawback of this system is that the glue joint caused when the vase is glued back together, is going to show, so some means has to be devised to conceal it. My preferred method is to set a scorch-line into the joint, then to add a series of scorch-lines  above and below it. My picture shows you the result and it would take a well experienced eye to spot the join….which line is it?

Next, I found a large piece of cherry-wood among a batch of timber that I bought a year or so ago, and which I knew was very dry. It wasn’t without its problems as it had been badly dried and there were some large cracks, but luckily they weren’t very deep, so once the bark and most of the sapwood was turned away, some beautiful heartwood remained and yielded as fine a piece of cherry as I’ve ever worked.

I cut a slight ogee shape to make the most of the grain whilst avoiding the splits, and then cut a small accent line inside the bowl, which I further accentuated by scorching it.

I still had time to make one more good-sized piece and decided to raid my wood store to find a slab of walnut that I knew I’d tucked away for a special display-item. Later that day I finally put the last few touches on a big, heavy wall-hanging, strongly reminiscent of a Celtic warrior’s shield.

That left two more pieces needed for display, so I raided the shop shelves, leaving two more empty spaces on them.

If you’re in the Dolgellau area, do please call in to see the display and spend a while looking at the other crafts on sale there. Enjoy!

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