Craft of woodturning comes alive in Limerick after the storms

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

A piece crafted by Pat Carroll and below, Seamus Cassidys work combines wood with other mediums
THE high winds which brought down many old and noble trees around the county brought an unexpected bonus to Limerick’s wood-turners.

THE high winds which brought down many old and noble trees around the county brought an unexpected bonus to Limerick’s wood-turners.

“There are some nice pieces of wood about after Storm Darwin and hopefully these will end up in woodturners’ workshops,” John Ryan, of the Limerick chapter of the Irish Woodturners Guild said this week.

However, he added: “Some of the chain-saw crews are a little over-eager for firewood and can’t see the chair or the table in the log.”

Fortunately, some of the county’s most gifted wood-turners do have the knack of seeing what is hidden in the raw wood and their work will go on display later this month, on March 22, at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel.

“Our display of finished work will be a feast for the eyes,” promises Mr Ryan. Among the exhibits will be a full-size working spinning wheel, which can be seen in action. There will also be a fine specimen of a Windsor chair, made by chapter members during 2013 and which was exhibited at the Guild’s national seminar in Sligo.

But the main activity of the day will be the woodturning demonstrations, which will go on all day from 9.30am to 6pm. There will be 12 demonstrations in all, Mr Ryan explained and the Limerick chapter is delighted to have woodturners Seamus Cassidy, Pat Carroll and Tom Dunlop signed up for the day.

Seamus Cassidy is a multi-award winning craftsman based in Co Meath, where his studio and gallery are just a few miles from Newgrange, and where he creates presentation pieces, functional pieces and one-off artistic works.

Pat Carroll says of his work: “I like to explore the piece of timber I am working with and seek out the possibilities of enhancing the beautiful product Mother Nature has provided.” His current work involves combining wood with other mediums such as pewter or antlers.

Tom Dunlop has over 30 years of wood-turning experience and sees himself “as a teacher rather than a demonstrator”. “I like to give time to my audience to explain the action of the tools and their effect on the finish achieved,” he says. Members of the Limerick and District chapter will also give demonstrations.

“Interest in the craft of woodturning remains very vibrant despite the passing of the Celtic Tiger,” John Ryan says. “It seems that many individuals get a buzz from doing a bit of wood artistry and wood creativity on the lathe. It means that things high-tech get set aside for a few hours and instead people get lost in a shower of wood-shavings.”

Topics at the workshops range from basic fundamentals up to the more advanced projects, John continues. It is all about work in progress, sharing in practical know-how and benefiting from other people’s advice and knowledge.

“Discussion and the all-important cup of tea or coffee is a social bonus thrown,” he points out.

Places at the seminar are limited to about 80 and have to be booked. To reserve your place, contact 086-2770904. The fee includes lunch and elevenses.