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From the Army to Art
The woodturning story of Andy Harrison

As delighted as we are to hear about the backgrounds, efforts and achievements of woodturning amateurs and professionals alike who may be based around the UK or beyond, we are proud residents of Oxfordshire here at The ToolPost. We therefore take a particular interest in those involved with this remarkable craft based closer to home, one such fascinating individual being one of our own customers, the sculptor and gallery co-owner Andy Harrison.

Andy's love of woodturning dates back to when he was a 17-year old carpentry apprentice, but in-between then and now, his life has taken as many interesting twists and turns as one of his finest woodturned masterpieces. Until just a couple of years ago, in fact, Harrison was serving with the British Army, based at Brize Norton in our own county.

Andy was working towards his imminent demobilisation when he contracted a debilitating tropical disease that has still not been clearly diagnosed. This caused a delay in his demobilisation, which led him to take up woodturning, based on his knowledge gained working as a joiner through the Army's trade apprenticeship scheme many years previously. When Andy was eventually demobilised on the grounds of his persistent ill health, he started to rebuild his life around his continued interest in woodturning.

Purchasing a large lathe from The ToolPost - the legendary VB36 for which we are agents - Andy developed his woodturning skills in the direction of sculptural pieces, generally in large formats. Today, he is the co-owner with his similarly artistic partner, Jennifer Crowshaw, of the State-of-the-Art (SOTA) Gallery in nearby Witney, while continuing to combine turning and carving in the creation of artworks that are sold through both his partner's gallery and several others in the region.

Andy and his distinctive wooden work were recently the subject of an article in the Oxford Times, in which he talked about his artistic approach, explaining: "When you start work on a new piece you never quite know what to expect, what you'll find inside, what patterns will reveal themselves. I choose each piece carefully for its colour and detail, and I prefer to work with wood that has cracks or knots. It's these flaws that add the character."

We are certainly great admirers of Andy's distinctive pieces here at The ToolPost, and have long marvelled at how he combines well-established woodturning traditions with intriguing modern touches. Andy is most easily contacted at the gallery through Jennifer, who we are delighted to report that he is planning to marry later this year. We therefore wish Andy and Jennifer all the best with their both artistic and personal endeavours in 2016 and the years to come!

Editor's Note: The ToolPost ( is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice