I am a maker, woodturning demonstrator, woodturning teacher, and a woodturning writer. I began woodturning in 1993.
I am interested in craft education and in its purest form. The philosophy I follow is best summed up by a quote from W.B. Yeats “Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire”.
First and foremost, I am a maker. I make both functional and one off artistic pieces. I believe strongly that craft is the bridge between technology and art. This is the essence that I want to bring to my work.
My teaching is informed by both explorations in my own work, and from writing on topics within the woodturning field. I believe the woodturning field is truly International.
If a craftsperson wants to be accepted within the world woodturning community, the standards followed should be international standards.
Writing about woodturning allows me to explore specific aspects of contemporary woodturning and almost all of my published articles have been published by the former International Woodturning Centre in Philadelphia USA (now Centre for Wood Art).
I have demonstrated within Ireland and the UK. When engaging with an audience, I try not only to demonstrate the specifics of the craft of woodturning, but also to have a dialogue on what it means to be a committed craftsperson in a technological age.
Craft always needs to evolve, and in the 21st Century I believe that makers need to think deeply on what it is to be a craftsperson. The question of what really constitutes a handcraft is a very deep one, and needs careful analysis and debate.
Without a deep insight into the philosophy of the craft, any maker only possesses motor and dexterity skills. For craft to have real meaning and depth and relevance, it needs to have soul.
All of these facets – making, teaching, writing and demonstrating reinforce each other and help to make me a better maker, a better teacher and, most of all, a better student. That how I describe myself, I am a true student of the woodturning field.