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NATIONAL WOODTURNERS CONGRESS (article first published : 2002-08-5)

From August 9 to 11, Durban will host 90 members of the Association of Woodturners of South Africa who will be in Durban for their annual Congress. This will be held at Glenwood High School and members of the public are invited to visit the school hall where about 150 to 200 turned wooden items will be on display in the “Instant Gallery”.

Interested members of the public will be very welcome to view the display any time on August 9 and 10 between 10h00 and 15h00. Entrance to the “Instant Gallery” will be from Bulwer Road, and there will be no charge.

The proceeds of a raffle during the congress will be donated to the Ethelbert Children's Home in Malvern and the proceeds of an auction of AWSA members’ work bought by delegates will be donated to the Highway Hospice.

Numbered among the best woodturners in South Africa, the delegates will travel from all parts of the country to attend. They are encouraged to bring some of their best work for the “Instant Gallery”, so items of enormous variety and high quality will be on display. On the evening of August 9, well-known art curators Brendan Bell and Jill Addleson will give a critique of some of the work from an artistic and aesthetic point of view. This will be done together with a highly experienced turner from Cape Town who will comment on the technical aspect of the pieces.

At Congress, top wood turners will give practical demonstrations of their latest techniques and share their skills with the other delegates. In addition, the delegates will be addressed by experts on timber identification, and wood rot linked to spalting, a process which takes place within wet timber and can result in striking markings which are much sought after by woodturners.

Most top turners in this country sell their work through local galleries or in some cases, overseas where they compete well against considerable local competition. Some sell through craft fairs and others have their own retail outlets or home galleries.

“Woodturning is extremely popular throughout Europe, the Americas and Australasia,” says well-known woodturner John Mills. “It is growing in SA with local clubs attracting new members at a steady rate.

“Fortunately South Africa has an abundance of beautiful indigenous timber, which is the envy of turners from other countries. This means that, when trees fall down during storms or have to be felled for safety reasons, woodturners are able to utilise this timber and convert it into useful and also in many cases, artistic works.”

John Mills is a full time woodturner resident on the Berea. He is currently the Chairman of the national association which is why Congress is being hosted in Durban this year. For more information contact him on 031 208-0504 or 082 831-5252 or e-mail: johnm@worldonline.co.za




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