You may or may not have heard of Steven Kennard, an English woodturner and sculptor who, having also lived in France, now calls Nova
Scotia in Canada his home. You may not be aware of many things about him, such as his ability to create true art from exotic and indigenous woods, turning and carving unique sculptural boxes. Well, you may soon become
aware of all of these things, thanks to a new short documentary by filmmaker Ben Proudfoot.
In Turns, the self-taught Kennard is shown demonstrating his mastery in the crafting of wood on a
lathe. The resulting gorgeous handmade wooden boxes have been known to change hands for thousands of pounds. On watching this curious documentary, few observers will be able to doubt the enduringly strange beauty of
this enduringly strange art. Nor should it be a surprise that Kennard is so good at it, given that he has been turning and crafting since the mid-'70s.
The woodturner's official website has described his
path - in common with that of others who follow this ever-fascinating, if often overlooked art - as "one of continuous discovery". Certainly, that is the experience of the person who watches Turns
, in which Kennard shown taking a solid block of wood and sawing and sharpening it in conjunction with the lathe and a series of tools. It takes astonishingly steady handiwork for him to bring the tiny carvings
and intricate textures on each box's side to completion.
Kennard has commented: "The discipline of knowing that it's got to be a container of some kind - that's really where my passion has taken me.
The satisfaction of making something with your own hands can't be described." The documentary is just the latest chapter of an impressive story that has already seen him claim a number of accolades, with his work
appearing in such publications as New Masters of Woodturning and New Masters of the Wooden Box, as well as in the permanent collection of the Art Bank of Nova Scotia.
maestro has described his fascination with box forms as having something to do with "the mystery inherent in them", and for those who have not seen Kennard's work 'in the flesh', or even those who have, there can be few better ways of appreciating that mystery than by giving
Turns a well-deserved watch.