To say that the National Botanic Garden of Wales has been a success story would be something of an understatement. Since it opened in May
2000 as the millennium's first new national botanic garden, it has become Wales' most visited garden, in addition to being awarded such accolades as 'Visitors Favourite' by the Carmarthenshire Tourism Association and
'No 1 Garden to Visit in Wales' by BBC Gardeners' World - both as a result of a public vote. What could possibly make such a garden an even greater attraction? Well, one idea may be an association with woodturning.
Indeed, that was precisely what
transpired on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th January 2014, when the Great Glasshouse and Marquee at the garden hosted a weekend of wood turning and wood carving related demonstrations and displays. The popular Woodcraft
Weekend is a familiar event at the garden, and for a mere £2 admission price for adults, free for under-16s, it gave locals the chance to observe the skills of top wood turners, love-spoon carvers and even an axe
sculptor. As one of those exhibitors and organiser Les Bryan stated, "It is a real treat to see some of the UK's top carvers and turners in action."
Those big names in woodturning and carving included
international pyrography artist Bob Neill, who was in attendance to demonstrate and run children's workshops. He was joined by turner Simon Hope, who gave his own woodturning masterclass, as well as Mark Raby, who
demonstrated wood colouring and designs from Chestnut Products. The event also saw demonstrations of equipment by such manufacturers as Robert Sorby, while the British Woodcarvers' Association, South and west Wales
woodturning clubs and axe carver Nick Westerman also all made appearances.
Indications are that the event was certainly well-received among seasoned woodturning professionals and amateur enthusiasts alike, with one
person on the National Botanic Garden of Wales website commenting: "Just to say that I enjoyed this event very much." Nor could it have all happened in a nicer setting, with the garden, in addition to the
above awards, having also been voted the number one 'Wonder of Wales', 'Best Children's Garden', 'Most Romantic Garden' and 'Best Afternoon Tea' by the Western Mail.
However, it isn't just the garden that the
Woodcraft Weekend will have attracted people to, with the art of woodturning having also inevitably been flaunted to best advantage by the festivities over the two days. It might just be enough to prompt many to invest
in woodturning tools and equipment, whether to enhance an existing collection or take up the craft of wood turning for the first time. Indeed, some may even do so at the website of The ToolPost, one of the leading
stockists of high quality woodturning tools and equipment, with industry-leading lines in woodturning lathes, sharpening systems, chucks and accessories and many more relevant items.