Here are the winners and entries for the July online competition. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown 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.

It certainly looks like there is at least some normality coming back into life. July saw a slightly smaller entry than previous months and has taken me longer to review than the previous competitions also. While we encourage everyone to enter, I take heart from the fact that some of the other elements of life are now restarting. 
The Beginners’ section has three entries. First up, is John O’Neill with his textured flaming bowl. John tells me that the colours on the outside made photographing this piece a little difficult. I am drawn to the contrast between the bronzed edge and the natural wood interior. You can just about make out a knot on the inside, which for me can be a strong feature on any turned piece. It is also worth noting that this bowl is of modest size, which means that even those us whose lathes are small diameter shouldn’t remove bowls from our repertoire. Time hasn’t stood still for Michael Quinn, who has turned a very nice clock. I really like the well-matched colouring of the Clock face with the Oak (I think) surround. Similarly the contrast with the stand works very well in my opinion. My choice for first place this month is Mike Sims. He has turned a very nice box of Elm with a Mahogany finial.The continuity of the grain from body to lid is eye catching, as is the detail on the inside of the lid. I detect from the photograph that the receiving edge has a subtle oval shape that should produce that nice vacuum effect when opening and closing the box.

                                              Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

The Experienced category has three entries. John Doran appears to be preparing for the shorter evenings as he turns a lamp. The grain running up the spindle is particularly nice. Vinny Whelan must have similar ideas, although he may be expecting a power cut also. He has turned a very nice tea-light holder. There are three points that stand out for me about this piece. First, the design is uncluttered, it lets the natural wood do the talking, rather than adding lots of bevels, grooves and coving. The second is the well-spaced candles, which appear to be positioned geometrically perfect. Finally rather than simply recessing the candles, Vinny has inserted what appears to be glass tea-light holders which provide both a safety feature and a nice detail. However my experienced choice this month goes to Brendan Kelly. With the lamps switched on and candles lit, Brendan must be ready to relax with a 13”cheese platter (and hopefully a nice Bordeaux). The warm tones of the Oak look great. I can just see the crackers and grapes lining the rim. 
                                              Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

Six entries make up the Advanced category this month. Having mentioned the grapes adorning Brendan’s entry in the experienced section it seems fitting to start with Paddy Finns Fruit Plate. Is anyone else getting hungry? The grain pattern along with the crisply cut stems and polished finish make these almost edible. Joe O’Neill is ready to provide the table. His drop leaf table is very nice indeed. While this piece will also hone your joinery skills, it provides for lots of spindle practice also. Not an easy piece by any standard.
Cecil Barron is continuing the foodie theme with a Soup Tureen. The choice of yew along with the knot in the lid (not in the bowl) give this the earthenware feeling of its French ancestors. Brendan Phelan has opted to play rather than eat. Brendan has sent me a short video of this piece rolling, almost waddling across the floor in a perpetual motion kind of way. Don’t let the complicated shape turn you off trying this project, just take a closer look at the symmetric join across the centre of the piece. Michael Fay has opted for precision engineering (or maybe he is just hinting that all this cocooning has been driving us nuts). I am intrigued by how this piece of ebony looks like it is anodized steel turned on an engineering lathe rather than a wood lathe. It is just short of having a CE mark or part number engraved on it. I have no doubt that if I put a verniercaliper on this piece it would be to Michaels usual standard of perfection.
I have so far avoided calling a winner…..two pieces take my eye for completely different reasons. Michael’s excellent Ebony Nut and Bolt set, just invites me to pick it up and look for the flaws that I’m sure are not there. The choice of wood for its hardness and its almost invisible grain make it ideal. Cecil on the other hand has turned a warm and inviting piece with naturally beautiful features. In contrast, it is the grain and imperfections (of the wood), that make it wonderful.
Precision engineering or warm homely comfort? Your choice!

                                                Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

Six pieces again, make up the Artistic category. I shall start with one of my favourites from last month. Jack Kearney tells me the in-laws came to visit (of last months three witches). Grown to a coven of seven, I am still taken by how each of these seems to have a personality of their own. Maybe the witches put a spell on Mike Sims, as this month he has brought along their cat. Mike tells me that he saw Albert Harrison demonstrate this at the national seminar and that he turned this piece from plans that Albert handed out. The body of the cat is made from Sapele and the eyes and nose made from polymer clay. Colum Murphy has presented a fine Spalted Chestnut Burl Bowl. While the shape may work, the size is just to small to be fit too many ‘eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of…….”Ok, enough of that, lets get back to turning. Just under a kilo in weight and just over 13 inches in diameter, the spalting and blemished wood could tell a story of what it has seen and endured (and Colum could let the rest of the family know where the kitchen scales have gone).
Continuing on a theme of spalting and perfect imperfections, Brendan Kelly has turned a 12’’ Sycamore platter. Brendan has opted for a very natural finish, which allows the gradual change in colour and texture, take centre stage. Cecil Barron has turned a set of five Measuring Cups on a platter. The story behind the cups is great (See Below) and shows how simple things can create powerful memories. I am drawn to the graduated sizing, the uniform shape, but very different and interesting wood choice. Variety makes a great team.
My Choice for first place in the artistic section has to be Brendan Phelan’s Pine bowl. This is a beautiful centerpiece, with great colour and grain. The piece appears to be turned from a branch split, giving it great shape and three natural toes.

                                          Click any image to scroll through full slide show.

So that’s it for this month. DWG would like to emphasis that no animals were hurt in the making of this article.

As the review is getting out a little later than usual, I am conscious that there is only a short time to the next competition. Please get turning and get your pieces in. I intend to gather all the entries by the end of the first week in August, so don’t worry if you are a couple of days after the normal deadline, just get the pieces in. Just in case any of your were using my eircom email address, please ensure that you update it to as the eircom address is no longer active.

Stay Safe,


The story behind the cups

Grannies Love Cups
Grannie Bloomer, my Mothers Mother died in 1964. She lived in Edgeworthstown in a thatched cottage on a small farm. They did not have much. One of her prized possessions was a set of measuring cups that she brought from her parents’ home in Ballinalee when she married my Granddad and moved to his family home.

They were kept on display on the dresser in the kitchen seldom used and much admired.

She, as a great favour, would let me play cooking with them when as a child I stayed with her on summer holidays.

The set I have entered in the competition were made to commemorate her death fifty years ago.

I do not know what happened to the originals, but these, every time I look at them, remind me of my Grannie and how kind she was to me.

Cecil Barron  


Thanks to Colum Murphy for providing a photo of another hat for last months Owl.
This wise fellow has just graduated!

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. He has kindly agreed to do it all again next month.

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