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

Pat Walsh was our guest judge for May. 

Three entries in the Beginner section

The entries here largely confirm that we don’t have real beginners in our chapter, with entries that anyone would be proud of.

John O’Neill’s recorder in ash is an attractive looking piece. Maybe John should have submitted a recording of him playing it.

Michael Quinn’s bowl came with no description. At a guess, I’d say it is beech. There is pinkish hue in it, but that could be the photos. The plain wood in the bowl is complemented by the many colours and varied grains that make up the inlay on the rim. The inlays seem to be framed inside and outside by two grooves, giving it nice clean boundaries.

The third piece from Peter Hoare is called a Miner’s Head. It is not something I have come across before, but perhaps anyone involved in the Spinning Wheel Chapter Challenge some years ago may be familiar with it. It looks like a complex piece of turning, with many parts that I would think requires great skill and attention to detail to make successfully.

Trying to pick a preference here is like trying to decide between beef or salmon for dinner – sometimes it’s okay to have both. In that vein, I’m opting for Joint First Place for Michael Quinn’s Inlaid rim Bowl and Peter Hoare’s Miners Head.

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Three entries in the Experienced section.

There were only three entries here. First up was a small bowl in beech from Brendan Kelly. Brendan provided three pictures that showed every part of the bowl. It has a pleasing looking curve and a wide base for stability. (nice looking pen too)

Vinnie Whelan’s yew candle holder is a bit unusual in that the tealight sits on the top rather that in a metal or glass holder within the wood. Vinnie has gone for a chunky look that asks to be handled. It looks to be well finished.

Finally, an entry from Sean Earls with a platter in Beech that has a central small bowl – I think the Americans would call thisa Dip and Chips bowl in that the central bowl takes the dip and the perimeter holds the chips, or in Ireland the Tayto or Pringles. It was probably a difficult enough piece to turn and finish due to the combination of the straight side inside and the central bowl. Sean has done a good job overall.

First place goes to Brendan Kelly.

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There were six entries in the Advanced section.

We have six entries here – and what a selection. I’ll take them in the order that pictures were sent to me.
Cecil Barron used a stunning piece of Walnut to make a bowl. Cecil did the wood justice. The piece has a beautiful shape, a noticeable undercut, and the subtle decoration elements are understated and completely appropriate to the wood. As one would expect from Cecil, from the pictures, the piece is impeccably finished – smooth curves and not a tool or sanding mark to be seen.

Joe O’Neill is ready to wrap things up with his string holder/dispenser. No details were provided about the wood or the size. A useful and attractive piece.

Michael Fay gave no details about the wood in his piece. I suppose it could be called a suspended bowl. It’s a stunning piece, does Michael produce anything that is ordinary? The elegance and apparent simplicity of the piece belies the skill and talent needed to create it. The beautiful clean curve of the bowl from the very bottom to the rim, the contrast with the flat slightly wavy edge rim and elegant contrasting legs. It’s the kind of ability we all aspire to.

John Duffs small bowl with rim that is falling away from the bowl looks like a piece that asks to be picked up and handled. The wood is not specified, but John does say he got his inspiration from the Conkers demo but didn't stain it because the wood was too nice. I’d agree with his decision. It is beautifully finished with a subtle sheen that highlights the wood just right. 

Brendan Phelans entry this month is a chalice in Laburnum. It is an impressive looking piece, looks well finished and has an unusual 'waisted' section to the top. I would like to have see pictures of it from a couple of other angles

The last entry was a small lidded box with finial from Tony Hartney. Again, no details on the wood. Tony seems to have done a good job grain matching, and the colour of the wood in the finial also matched the darker colour in the box and lid.

My first place goes to Michael Fay for his “suspended bowl”. However, while writing the result, I am also thinking about Cecil’s bowl. It is a very close second and perhaps on a different day, and being in a different mood my choice may have changed.

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And finally the Artistic section had six entries

First up here is a stained Sycamore bowl from Brendan Kelly. It’s an unusual shape, and from the photos I can’t see if the shape is the same on the inside. Brendan says that the Sycamore was badly stained giving it a dirty appearance so he decided to colour it.

Brendan Phelan presents a beautifully turner piece and adds a bit of fun to it with the inclusion of an “egg”. I’m struggling to decide what to call the piece – goblet, vase, pedestal bowl. Brendan calls it a vase so we’ll settle on that. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what it is called, it is a piece that no doubt was an achievement to complete in one piece and an even bigger achievement, and an indication of Brendan’s skill that the finish looks flawless.

Cecil Barron has gone Green this month and has reduced, reused and recycled – a cutting from one of his rose bushes. The result is a remarkably attractive little piece with a natural symmetry that enchants.

An off-centre bowl from Laburnum crotch is Colum Murphy’s offering this month. A tough enough piece to complete, I’d guess, given the irregularity of the wood. It is well designed, well executed and impeccably finished, especially given the varying densities and grain directions that can be encountered in crotch wood.

John O’Neill says his piece this month is a nod to the work of Emmet Kane, the wood is ash, he soaked the wood in water for 24 hours and was hoping for more distortion as it dried. Black is a difficult colour to photograph and I don’t think the piece is done justice here. It is not clear how deep the grooves go or if there is any shape “within the grooves”. Probably a piece that needs to be seen in the flesh.

Finally, an impressionist banana from Tony Hartney. I looked at this for some time trying to figure out why this banana looks different. I finally figured it out – I’m sure you will too. The overall shape and colouring has been captured perfectly, and it looks good enough to eat, except I will not touch a banana if there is any black on the skin.

My choice for first place in this category has hovered between two of the entries. Having slept on it, and viewed the entries afresh, I have opted for Colum Murphy’s Laburnum crotch bowl as my choice for first place.

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The eighteen entries this month shows a genuine interest in keeping the chapter going during this very long lock down. Hopefully we'll all be able to get back together before the end of the year.
Pat Walsh

Many thanks Pat on behalf of us all, you did a great job.

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