Here are the winners and entries for the April 2020 competition. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown there was no meeting this month so the competition was held online.
Mark has done a great job running and judging this competition. You can read his analysis below.

That’s a fine cuppa tae.... April’s competition was originally intended as a Cup & Saucer, however under the circumstances and to remove any excuses for not getting out to the workshop, it was decided to keep things simple with an open competition. Simple however is not the first word to come to mind when I see the turning. 

It’s great to see a high number of entries, I chalked another line on the wall as I counted the days of lockdown and hardly felt the day going by. 

This competition won’t count towards the annual score board. Without the touchy feely of a typical judging session and a panel of our peers, it just wouldn’t be fair. In fact this competition could be influenced by the quality of photography, although I have tried to avoid that trap.

The beginners category had five entrants but 6 pieces. As getting out to the workshop is the objective, I didn’t mind one person summiting a second entry. I really liked the shape and grain of Michael Quinn’s Cup & Saucer, and the off centre box submitted by Mike Sims. For me, it is hard to call between the two. My choice for first place however, goes to Michael Cahill for his Laburnum box. It looks fantastic, a fine, warm wood, just inviting you to pick it up.

Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

The experienced section had just two entries. John Doran turned an elegant pen, no doubt there is a story behind where the wood came from. While this pen probably didn’t see Croke Park action, it deserves a place in the final. Brendan Kelly turned a very nice piece indeed. Of note from this entry are the well shaped parabolic inner, contrasting with the straight lines of the outer wall. The decorative colour bands further contrasts with the natural grain, particularly on the inside surface. I suspect this piece would stand up to scrutiny at a real, in the flesh competition. Winner alright, Brendan Kelly.

Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

Ten entries in the advanced category and a really tough one to call. This brings home why it is necessary to touch and hold a piece of wood when judging. Can you imagine looking to buy one of these pieces online, it would be an impossible choice. Brennan Phelan has turned a crisp, clean, cup, saucer and spoon. The outer wall of the cup appears perfectly parallel and the square cut grooves are evenly spread with clean edges. Tony Hartney has turned the ultimate cappuccino set, at least by its stunning colour and pattern. The cup wall appears nicely thin and the line of the cup is smooth and well proportioned, definitely y’er fine china, rather than ‘tae in a mug’. Cecil Barron is in high spirits with a fantastic set of six shot glasses. I am glad to see he has only knocked two back, it would be tempting to treat a lockdown like a lock in, in which case all glasses might be rolling on the bar counter. Willie Reville is looking to brighten up the place with a lamp. The grain looks wonderful and I suspect it would look even better in the flesh. But for me, the winner has to be David McSweeney for his Japanese Style Cup and saucer. Apart from the fine oriental shape and lines, there are two details that really take my eye. The first is the delicate inlay. This is particularly note worthy on the thin wall of the cup. The second is the grain patterns on the saucer. The step down for the cup holder creates a beautiful contrast.

Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

So now for the eight entries in the artistic section. Sean Ryan turned a very interesting piece. This trumpeted sphere on a pedestal took a lot of precision and effort. The textured colouring suggested a floating bomb, however I also wondered in it was a nod to the dreaded Corona virus. Cecil Barron turned a well-proportioned 12” high vase based on laminated plywood. I suspect that this piece would attract lots of attention adorning a sideboard. The nut like shape and contrasting colours and textures of Jonathan Wighams Chestnut Burl is beautiful. Certainly a piece that admirers would really like to take in their hands. Willie Reville has demonstrated a nice piece of turning with his spalted beech clock, however the accuracy with which he fired the bullets at perfect intervals is a credit to him. Brendan Phelan has presented a stunning natural edge bowl. This piece just says “take me home”. But the winner of the artistic category is Colum Murphy with a Sycamore bowl, turned, carved and coloured. I just hope the chosen photos do justice to the piece, Colum has provided more photos including some showing the process. This surely is the makings of a separate article.

Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

So…. I have cherry picked some entries for comment. We could be here all day if I was to continue into each and every piece, (I know…. with lockdown, we won’t be going anywhere anyway). I hope that the photos demonstrate how difficult it is to choose a winner in each category. The quality of entry was very high and it was fantastic to see so many pieces.I have chosen one image for each piece to illustrate the entry, however in some cases I was furnished with a couple of views from differing perspectives. If you disagree with my choice, please don’t hold it against me, it might have been different at the table in the scout hall.
As we are still confined to the garden and workshop, next months competition will follow the same format. Please keep the entries coming in; lets have a record number for the first Saturday in May.
Thanks for the therapy.

Mark Daly

Web Master's Comment: On behalf of all members I would like to take this opportunity to thanks Mark for all his work in organising this competition and in particular for the fabulous commentary.

Competition Rules are Available Here.

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