Thursday, February 08, 2007

Woodturning Plus

There is a new blog on the block. Woodturning Plus is written by UK turner Philip Streeting.

This seems to be a blog with a mission. Philip is critical of the British woodturning scene:

"...the focussing of attention in British woodturning on matters relating to technique and finish, was inhibiting the growth and development of the craft."

So this is what Woodturning Plus is going to be all about:

"This Blog is intended for those in the UK who ...... have found their current sources of information or encouragement either unsatisfactory or unchallenging. I will be adding entries that may help creative thinking and doing, using net and book references. ....... It will be for you ..... to find your own solutions using the same trial and error processes that most makers in other disciplines use to achieve their unique designs for any given project or method of working.

So if you are reading this and you are a woodturning craft fundamentalist having no wish to see tools used incorrectly, grain abused and alternative materials used with wood, then this is not the site for you."
I don't think this is an issue restricted to the UK, so I am sure that his blog will be of interest to wood turners from around the world. I don't think that the 'problems' Philip perceives are geographic. There are certainly some fine and creative woodturners in the UK. Wherever we live I think we need to be aware of the woodturning culture that we expose ourselves to, whether it is clubs, periodicals, galleries or shows. This culture is not just about design, but also things such as quality of workmanship, and skills and opportunities for marketing and promotion. Education is another factor. Someone with a degree in fine arts is going to have a huge advantage in terms of design matters over someone who comes to woodturning as a hobby and is just wanting to be able to make things. And there is nothing wrong with this, but I do agree that there is a big distinction between a craftsman and a designer-craftsman.

Long time readers of The ToolRest will know that I am thinking along similar lines to Philip, and have blogged about some of these issues in "Who influences your work?" and "Inspiration for woodturners". In those posts I have attributed some of the blame for these issues on the woodturning press. For example, when Woodturning Design first came out I had high expectations for some refreshingly different content, but unfortunately I now realise that they really meant to call it Woodturning Designs, or maybe Woodturning Projects. Too bad. Anway, I hope that Philip and I can keep some sort of dialogue going between our blogs and provide some content that is lacking in the mainstream press, or maybe even encourage them to change their focus. I am not going to be as radically selective in my content as Philip though, and you can be sure to continue to find tips and techniques here too.

Before I sign off, I should point out that Philip also has a website,, which has some very nicely presented papers, such as 'An Introduction to a Design Method for Woodturners'.

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