Born in Merton, England in 1947, I started my passion for all things wooden, at an early age, learning skills from my father, who was an accomplished cabinet maker by trade. At school, I excelled at wood work, and produced my first wood turning at about 12 years old. I was advised by my father not to take up this vocation upon starting work. I trained and attended technical colleges in UK to become a Mechanical Building Services Engineering Consultant, a career that has spanned over 50 years.
I immigrated to South Africa in 1974, and have gradually specialised in the field of Life Safety and Fire Engineering within buildings, having my own consultancy for the past 20 years. Since 1987, I have been based in Kloof, Kwa-Zulu Natal, with my wife and two daughters.
It has only been over the last 10 years that I have seriously continued with my woodcraft, and in recent years, I have spent much time in my small workshop using many of the old hand tools previously used by my father, to explore and expose the natural wonder of nature that is wood. I will never fully master the art, as there is always something new to learn, both about each piece of wood and the processes required to achieve a finished article. Each item that I produce is one-off, revealing the uniqueness of each piece of wood. My work explores my thinking, and is intended to highlight both the visual and tactile aspect. Hence many are intended as conversation pieces or art forms, rather than being practical items. I am currently working towards becoming better known for the skills that I have acquired and enjoy most.
Winston lives in Pietermaritzburg and began turning in 1998 after his interest was aroused whilst watching a Woodturner turning a thin walled bowl at a woodwork festival in Durban. He was so inspired that he bought a Record DML lathe that was on special there, and was off on an exciting woodturning adventure.
Winston is self-taught having learned mostly by watching woodturning videos borrowed from the local library, especially those of John Jordan. The late Bert Marsh was another turner whose work strongly influenced him.
After a few years the DML lathe was too small and limited and he graduated to a Record C3 and converted it to an electronic speed control. This was a big improvement. He began turning a wider range of forms and became more adventurous experimenting with twisted finials and forms learned at a master class with Stewart Mortimer. For a few years Winston exhibited and also sold pieces at various craft markets and now sells through a gallery in Durban, although not on a regular basis.
Winston purchased a Jet 4224 lathe a few years ago and is now enjoying turning various shaped hollow forms and natural edged vessels and occasionally carves and colours these forms. He is the treasurer of the Midlands Woodworkers' Guild and assists in running a woodturning interest group for the benefit of members.
Heidi Snyman, although a relatively recent entrant to the turning fraternity succeeded in catching the judge’s attention at the Royal Show. Heidi's preference is to smaller to medium sized decorative and colourful pieces. Heidi is an active members of the KZN Midlands Woodworkers Guild.
A retired Engineer who never considered himself artistic as engineers can only produce drawings with straight lines. However he enjoyed hobbies involving working with wood and working on a lathe where he has to see a shape evolving as he sculpts. In 1990 following a visit to The Woodturner, John Early in the Dargle Valley the turning bug bit and Clyde’s hobbies extended to Woodturning.
It has been a journey of discovery, experimentation and continuously learning as his hobby continuously evolved. He attended 7 national symposiums and learnt from international and local turners and attended two master classes with Stuart Mortimer and Nick Agar, internationally acclaimed professional turners.
Clyde does not have a single signature style and still enjoys working with some of the truly beautiful wood that is so readily available in KZN to produce items with a natural patina; he also enjoys combining plain wood with other media. He enhances his work by texturing, carving, piercing, burning, marbling, application of colour, adding pewter and a combination of the above. He derives much pleasure from teaching woodturning to others and encouraging them to develop an artistic style rather than just produce functional items.
Purchased his first lathe in 1982 and woodturning remains his passion. He is self- taught, and has had the privilege of attending master-classes with renowned professional turners from the UK including Stuart Mortimer. In the transformation of logs into beautiful hand-turned items he captures the natural beauty hidden in the heart of the tree. Fred is a member of the Woodcrafters Association of Durban and offers tutoring classes for novice wood-turners.
Tony Matchett, although a relatively recent entrant to the turning fraternity, had succeeded in catching the judge’s attention at the Royal Show. His choice of form and design bring out the natural beauty within the wood. He is an active member of the KZN Midlands Woodworkers Guild.