Every so often here at the Didcot shop and showroom of The ToolPost, we host events that attract woodturning
amateurs and professionals from miles around. That was certainly the case with our most recent Autumn Open House, which took place over the weekend of Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November and featured demonstrations by not one, but two British turners - not something that we have been able to say of any Open House for many years.
The two native talents in question were Stuart Mortimer, who is famous for his spiral (twisted) hollow forms, and Andrew Hall, who has carved out a niche for himself creating both miniature and full-size items of
headgear in wood. They were joined by the woodcarver Simon Clements and the pyrographer Bert Butterfield, along with the best of our suppliers, who were on hand to answer the questions of our attendees and provide
With the event opening from 10am to 5pm on both days and the demos, entry, refreshments and parking all being free, it goes without saying that there was much for visitors to savour. Certainly,
we were honoured to be able to welcome Stuart Mortimer from Hampshire. A retired police inspector who had already gained proficiency in woodturning prior to his retirement in 1989, Stuart has gone on to win a series of
national competitions for his work, in addition to demonstrating, judging and writing for national and international magazines.
Today, Stuart enjoys an international reputation as a woodturning teacher and
demonstrator, but also for his actual work, which often incorporates some form of spiral and is collected by private collectors and museums across the world. One of his best-known pieces is his popular twisted goblet
that he first produced in 1969. Not for nothing is he known as "The Twister"! Indeed Stuart quite literally wrote the book on spiral turning ('The Techniques of Spiral Work', pub. Stobart Davies, 1995, now
sadly out of print) and in more recent times, has even been commissioned to make six finials for the celebration thrones for her Majesty the Queen, the thrones now taking pride of place in the permanent Royal
Such unparalleled credentials in woodturning would be enough in just one of our Open House demonstrators, but we were also joined by the international demonstrator, woodworker, woodturner and wood hat
milliner Andrew Hall - also known as "The Hat Man". Andrew is renowned not only for the brilliance of his turning work - in particular his vast range of wooden headgear spanning from Grecian helmets through
sun hats, top hats and bowlers to stetsons - but also for his superb presentation skills, enhanced by his armoury of hi-tech audio-visual aids which ensure that every visitor can clearly see every nuance his
demonstrations. Our 'Hat Man" also proved his versatility, as well as his kindness and sense of humour, by creating a brand new, tiny wooden hat to fit little Sophie's teddy whilst she watched the demo with her
mother! A professional turner of conventional bowls, natural edged vessels and staircase spindles, Andrew brought decades of experience in wood-related business to what we would humbly describe as one of our finest Open
Houses for years.
Now, the focus turns to Christmas, and we can only hope that those who were inspired by the woodturning displays at our Autumn Open House will be inspired to continue creating great wood projects
right through the festive season and into 2015!