The doors of London’s Carpenters’ Hall will open this week (October 12-15) on a large and diverse showcase of contemporary turned wood. Presented by The Worshipful Company of Turners, Wizardry in Wood brings together innovative and highly collectable work by more than 70 global makers.
Highlights include Eleanor Lakelin’s elemental trio of Natural-Edged Vessels (£2,300 at Sarah Myerscough Gallery, first picture), formed from bleached and scorched horse-chestnut burr. “I am particularly interested in how the passage of time is etched into the fibres of the material,” Lakelin says. “I peel back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material itself or build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting.”
Ray Key, who bought his first lathe in 1965 and has been turning wood full time since 1973, is another minimally minded maker. His Black Rimmed Vessels series (from £70, second picture) is a perfect example of his self-expressed quest “to produce objects of beauty and elegant simplicity”.
There is also plenty to delight more elaborate and decorative tastes. A Touch of Pink (£2,600) by Joey Richardson, for example, is a fantastical concoction of lathe-sculpted sycamore and acrylic colours, while Louise Hibbert has combined English sycamore with silver, resin and airbrushed acrylics to form a beautiful piece of whimsy, Curculio Box (£1,950, third picture), named after a genus of weevil.
Alongside the selling show is an exhibition of pieces from the Daniel Collection, one of Britain’s largest private collections of modern woodturning, together with more than 200 specimens from Kew Gardens’ Economic Botany Collection (an archive of over 100,000 specimens illustrating how humans use plants), ranging from an African blackwood comb collected in 1881 to a lute made from some of the trees Kew Gardens lost to the Great Storm of 1987.