The Bluelight Turner
About The Bluelight Turner
Around four years ago, I found myself needing a hobby as a way of unwinding from my day job within the Emergency Services. Having visited the woodturners at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre and seeing the pieces created from wood, I bought my first lathe together with some random chisels from eBay. Completely ignorant of wood turning, I watched various videos on YouTube and hacked at the timber but found myself forever sanding and with not a lot of shape to the items I turned. After around six months, I joined the West Sussex Wood Turners and this is when my true passion for the craft began. Having joined the club, I was allocated a mentor, who came around to see my set up and assist me with developing my turning skills. I very quickly realised that my lathe was not very good, my tools were poor quality and although I thought I was good, I in fact needed a lot of tuition to use tools correctly and become safe. I was lucky enough to be loaned a set of tools and an Axminster lathe by the club so I could learn the basics. Soon after, with a loan from my Nan and some good deals online, I had a shiny new lathe and some new HSS chisels and with Keith giving me a few more lessons, oh and 50 light pull blanks, I began to improve my turning skills and reduce the need for as much sandpaper. Since then, most of my rest days have been spent in my workshop, as woodturning has been a huge enjoyment for me; it has also helped me get through my PTSD. Working with wood gives me scope to create many items and with the opporttunity to source an extensive range of English and exotic hardwoods, the various grain patterns and natural colours give my turned pieces their own vibrancy of design and contrast. Sometimes it's not until you start turning the blanks and getting inside the wood that these natural colours and inclusions appear. I also enjoy turning quite bland woods, such as sycamore, beech or tulip wood in an unfinished state which are then enhanced by other local artists, either by adding colour or pyrography (burning). This collaboration results in some stunning finished items. I will also take on commissions for customers, given enough time or ability to source the correct timber. To date I have had the privilege to turn pieces as gifts for landmark birthdays and anniversaries, a pair of candle sticks for an altar for a wedding and replicating parts of a Victorian staircase and a Grade 2 listed building in Dorset. Sometimes I may not be able to carry out your desired turning personally, but I can usually put you in contact with someone who can. I enjoy demonstrating my work and allowing you to handle pieces and see them for yourself, as I feel this is the only way to truly experience how tactile and beautiful nature can be. I am lucky enough to be able to do this at my home workshop, at various craft fairs I attend throughout Sussex and at the Amberley Museum, near Arundel, where I am a volunteer with the resident woodturners.