I wood like that

2009-06-30 00:00

A BRITISH wood turner, whose work appears in the art collection of Britain’s Prince Charles, will be giving a talk about his work as part of this year’s annual symposium of the Association of Woodturners of South Africa (Awsa).

The event is being hosted by the Natal Midlands Woodworkers Guild at the Centre for Visual Arts at UKZN Pietermaritzburg from July 2 to July 5, for the second year in succession.

Around 80 wood turners from across the country are expected to attend and Agar’s talk and his three turning demonstrations are expected to be huge drawcards.

Based in Devon in the United Kingdom, his work is influenced and inspired by nature, geography, ancient artefacts and cultures. “I feel a strong connection with ancient civilisations, like the North American Indians, Egyptians, Mayans and Aborigines,” he says.

Before beginning his apprenticeship in wood turning at Dartington in the UK with the late Duggie Hart, Agar was a forester and says that working in Devon’s forests helped him to gain a deep understanding and affection for wood.

He specialises in creating hollow forms and large diameter work, including wall sculptures, and likes to include native timbers like sycamore, ash and oak in his work.

Joining him at the symposium will be two South African wood turning stars — Butch Smuts from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and John Wessels from Wilderness in the Western Cape.

Smuts’s large, finely crafted bowls and multi-axis bowls, made from African and exotic hardwoods, are exhibited and sold in Europe and the United States. Since 2000, he has participated in 26 local and overseas exhibitions and last year featured in the book, New Masters of Wood Turning, with 30 of the world’s best woodturners.

Wessels has gained international recognition for his work, which breaks new ground through his incorporation of pewter into his creations.

For the past two years he has submitted work for the American Association of Wood turners’ (AAW) professional outreach programme (Pop).

In 2008 his work, Life, achieved the second highest price in an auction at the end of the AAW symposium in Richmond, Virginia, and last month he submitted his work, Windows of My Mind, to AAW symposium in Albuquergue, New Mexico.

Another highlight is expected to be a talk by Professor Juliet Armstrong from the CVA, who will be presenting ideas on how South African wood turners can create an African identity for their work as opposed to copying the trends that come out of America or Europe.

‘Maritzburgers are invited to visit the Jack Heath Gallery at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, from 9 am to 5 pm on Friday and Saturday to see some of the beautiful items made by Awsa members; while woodworkers should visit a commercial stand, operated by Braziers and Strand Hardware from Port Elizabeth, which will be selling wood working and wood turning equipment not normally available in Pietermaritzburg.

• For more information call Clyde Neumann at 082 413 0020.


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