Here are the winners and entries for the August online competition. Due to the Corona Virus restrictions there was no meeting this month so the competition was held again online.

Mark has done a great job running and judging this competition. You can read his analysis below.

So another month has come and gone. I hope that everyone is finding some level of normality sneaking back into life. This may be the reason for a reduction in entries to this month’s competition, or maybe the garden had to take priority for one month. Quality on the other hand hasn’t waned at all.

In the beginners category there are just two entries. Both look great, however they are worlds apart in style, material and purpose. I suppose leaving the competitions as ‘open’, encourages diversity. Mike Sims is proving that no matter what age we are, a good toy will always be played with. Whether as an executive toy or a way to keep the kids at the lower end of the age spectrum occupied, a good spinning top will always fit the bill. I have turned a few of these before and always found them fun. Great for practicing basic skills and I also honed my skew skills with projects like this. If you have ever turned these, you will probably have fallen into the trap of spending the next half hour spinning it and trying to beat your previous longest spin time. However Mike has gone a step further and created a base, a great idea to save the top from a 3ft drop from the desktop to the floor. From top to bottom, if you can excuse the pun, the stem is acrylic, the body is polymer clay and the base is wood. I think the choice of colour in the clay allows the pattern to take on the effect of a wood grain. Ronnie Butler on the other hand has turned a beautiful lidded box. Choosing what I believe is Robinia, Ronnie has allowed the grain to do the talking. The contrast between the patterns of the body and the off-centered grain rings on the lid is notable. I particularly like how Ronnie has used his one use of ornamental tool work, to highlight the off center nature of he growth rings. For some reason (and feel free to educate me), the rings on Robinia always appear to spread out from approximately 1/3rd of the way across the diameter. My final observation is the use of a recessed lid design rather the debatably more common “cap” style lid. Well done Ronnie, this will be my pick of the pair.

                                               Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

The three experienced entries came from Vinny Whelan, John Doran and Brendan Kelly. If this were a committee meeting we would almost have a quorum. John has turned another lamp. This time with a ply base and what I think is Irish oak or is it elm? Vinny has kept with tradition, opting for the candle. As we experience some of the `summer storms, he could be expecting a power cut. Whichever the reason, at least the table is set for Brendan and his guests. Judging by the number (8) of napkin rings, social distancing can be achieved. Brendan hasn’t bogeyed this hole. I’m not sure if the piece was a Commission but it’s certainly not Agricultural. This lovely piece of Walnut is a hole in one.

                                              Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

Seven entries for the advanced section, the first up is Joe O’Neill who has finished his table from last month. In case any of you are wondering, the table is the piece in the center of the photo, it might be hard to find with the mountains of tools, storage and workshop equipment. ……Hang-on, I know I have it in here somewhere…… Cecil Barron has turned what I am guessing is a shoe-horn. My only hesitation is the photo angle, so if I have this wrong, I will correct it next time round. At first glance, this is a very simple piece, however it is worth paying a little attention to the choices made when designing it. The wood retains its natural look with no high gloss finish. This is in keeping with the finish on the silver. Also, the simple burnished lines do not over decorate the handle. Cecil has also allowed the piece to flow symmetrically from the tip of the scoop to the top of the handle. It is really worth paying attention to what makes our pieces, ordinary or very attractive. Paddy Finn has turned a very nice captive ring goblet/chalice from Beech. The rings are well finished and don’t appear to have any tool marks from spinning around as Paddy was finishing the stem. Frank Maguire brings us back to the candle-stick.It looks to me that it is cherry, however I will leave it to some of the more experienced among you to correct me.

Brendan Phelan is taking us into the woods with apair of mushrooms, hardly surprising when you consider the close and humid weather we have been experiencing in the last few weeks. Definitely good mushroom conditions. There is a lovely contrast between the uniform smaller example, which has an interesting alignment between the center of the growth rings on the top and stem and the slightly larger yew, with great natural features and colouring. David Sweeney keeps the ‘woods’ theme alive with the natural edge bowl. The bark edge seems solid and the growth rings clearly show the development of the tree that became a bowl after many years. Finally in this section, Michael Fay has turned a fantastic elm burl bowl. The patterns are stunning and the polish finish along with the charred edge remind me of a crystal rock. This piece takes first spot for me.

                                                Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

In the artistic section, Cecil Barron is promoting social distancing while we return to the shops. In a similar way to Jack Kearney’s Witches and Colum Murphy’s owl, in previous months, I am taken with the way these simple figures can almost develop a personality. Each different wood, shape and of course hat, make them into characters. The base and particularly the fence shouldn’t be overlooked either. Brendan Kelly may have sourced his wood from the same place as David Sweeney. Brendan has produced a lovely natural edge bowl, again the bark looks like it is there to stay and the age can be easily interpreted. Ronnie Butler has turned a couple of conical boxes. Simple designs combined with some nice turning make these very attractive.

Colum Murphy always seems to have a good eye for picking the right wood blank for the project. This pedestal platter has two nicely contrasting woods (beech and maple?) with an inlayed ring and centerpiece. The grain on the beech compliments the rustic theme of the centerpiece. My pick in the artistic section this month goes to Brendan Phelan’s matching bowls. These have so much to grab our attention, from admiring the visual features to figuring out the turning technique. The two blanks are different cuts, notice the grain direction in each. The inside of the bowls bring out the natural beauty of the wood, while the outside adds a little colour. Evenly spaced grooves follow the contour of the bowl, providing the bed for the colour. However we would have to figure out how to turn them first.

                                          Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

So that sums up the August competition.I can’t believe we are heading into September already. I look forward to receiving entries for the next competition which will be run for October. This gives an extra bit of time for you to get the entries in. As before, I am happy to receive the entries at any time, so if you send them on, I will keep them safe until the end of September. Stay safe and stay turning!


Web Master's Comment: 

Another great commentry from Mark. On behalf of all members I would like to thank Mark for all his work in organising these competitions. Remember, the next competition will be in October.

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