Monday, April 3, 2017

When the Chapter Committee Members attend such events as the I.W.G. National Seminar they do so for their own pleasure and education of course but always have in mind that a demonstrator for upcoming events might be found.  That is how we sourced the demonstrators for the past few years and that is where we met Richard Kennedy.  Richard was our demonstrator for the Annual Chapter Seminar and the Master class held in Togher and at Tony Farrell’s workshop over the last weekend, 1st and 2nd April, 2017.

This was no April Fools Day because the 35 people who attended the seminar were treated to a wonderful display of craftsmanship from a consummate woodturner but who is really a top-class artist.  Over the day he took us through three separate items.

The first was a hollow form with a very small opening that he completed using the Simon Hope hollowing-jig.  Richard used a number of different hollowing tools on the jig and showed us clearly the versatility of this great piece of equipment.  It transpires that one or two members are already using the equipment and if anybody is interested in exploring it further contact John Ahern, our Chairman, who has been using it for the last couple of years.  Kieran Higgins has his own version of the equipment that is bigger and stronger and to which he has added various “extras”.

For his next piece Richard hollowed out a small bowl again but on this one he drew in straight lines making different shaped ‘boxes’ on the outside.  Then he textured some of the ‘boxes’ and applied gold leaf to others before finishing the whole lot off with spray-on sanding sealer and spray-on lacquer. 

For the last half-hour of the day Richard mounted a length of ash on the lathe and produced a most-pleasing-shaped candlestick.

Some of the attendance at the Seminar
Richard with his three projects
Richard's finished pieces
There was an open competition, judged by Richard Kennedy.  1st, with a bowl, John O'Shea, 2nd with an ornamental box on a pedestal, David Lee and 3rd with a matching pair of candlesticks, Peter Manning.

We are very grateful to the 37th Cork (Togher) Scout Group for use of the hall.

Richard Kennedy explains why he chose John O'Shea's bowl for 1st place
Competition winners, From left, Peter Manning (3rd), John O'Shea (1st) and David Lee (2nd)
The 3 winning exhibits.  From left: 1st, John O'Shea, 2nd David Lee and 3rdPeter Manning
On the following day at Tony Farrell’s the sheer artistry of Richard Kennedy was even more obvious as he took the 15 members who attended the Master class through the intricacies of turning a small thin-walled bowl, drawing the pattern of a tree on it and then proceeding to cut away much of one side of the bowl.   For this he used a Dremel with a couple of different cutters.  This left the tree on one side of the bowl, which was then textured and outlined.  For outlining it he used a pyrography machine, so that the tree stood out in a sort of silhouette and for texturing most people used the Dremel again and a variety of different burr tips. 

There were dusty Dremels resurrected from workshops where they had hitherto done very little work but that from now on may prove to be very useful indeed. 

At the end of the workshop every participant took home what can only be considered a work of art.  One unfortunate left his “masterpiece” loose on the back seat of his car where something heavy fell on it and broke it irretrievably into several pieces.

Special mention has to be made of Tony Farrell who proved once again to be the perfect host.  Thanks too to Alice and her team for the catering.  The beautiful lunch served – as we have come to expect there – was probably worth at least as much, if it had been served in a restaurant, as the whole day cost.

We were Richard Kennedy’s first Master class but I know it won’t be his last.  He is a really good instructor, his skills and his imagination are second to none and those of us who interacted with him over the couple of days are very proud to regard him as a friend.  Thank you Richard.

There is much to be seen in the Internet about Richard and the following links will get you there. or Richard Kennedy WoodArt.

Twitter - @bolethegallery

For those holidaying in Scotland – or even the North of England – a visit to beautiful Knapdale in Argyll is strongly recommended.

Busy at the Master Class

The attendees at the Master Class.