Every year the Woodturners’ Society of Queensland runs a hotly contested competition for its members. This year some 136 entries were received from 30 members, a good result according to competition committee chairman Richard Cooper.
Categories from A to P include turnings of all descriptions, and lay spread out on maroon fabric covered tables when I called by on September 16 to view the entries. As I enter the clubrooms, committee members and judges are hard at it – morning tea that is. Mike Dodson, charged with keeping the judging team’s blood sugar at optimum levels, puts on a good spread.
The judges have been recruited from reasonably nearby clubs: John Rodgers and Ivan Medew from Bribie Island Woodcrafters, and Graham Sprott and Kerry Cameron from Redcliffe & District Woodcraft Society.
Morning tea over and positions are resumed. Seated at the tables, the judges examine each piece from all angles making comments recorded by a WSQ appointed ‘scribe’ who takes notes for the evaluative report that each entrant will receive. In this way, entering the competition becomes a valuable learning experience. Each piece is judged on design, workmanship, level of difficulty and finish and receives a score. Entrants’ names are not displayed to ensure a level playing field.
The spirit of the club is all about sharing and community involvement. The clubroom has 12 lathes ranged around the main activity room. ‘On Tuesdays sometimes 40 or 50 people come along’, said Richard Cooper. ‘There are convenors – they walk around in flouro shirts and supervise, making sure people are working safely.’
Other members come by to socialise but are also on hand should someone need advice or an opinion on how a project is progressing. ‘Some people just come along with a chainsaw, so other people can have wood to turn. There’s a very good spirit here’, said Richard. ‘Four out of five times I come along here to turn, but some days I just come along to have the fellowship and to research a few things about design’.
I asked Richard if experience as a woodworker was necessary to join the club. ‘We’re not selective’, he said, ‘I joined with very little (experience) but with a liking for wood and just thought it was the way to go. A lot of our members feel the same way. A lot of them have a background in trades and woodworking but we’ve got plumbers, veterinarians, accountants...a range of people are in the club’.
The club also hosts a range of workshops and activities and is situated at 19 Pine Street, Greenslopes. More information is here or enquire about joining by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out who the winners of the WSQ competition were check out the club's October newsletter on their website (see link above). You can see members’ work at their annual exhibition November 28–29 (9am–4pm) at Mt Coot-tha botanic Gardens Auditorium, Toowong.
Words and photos by Wood Review Editor, Linda Nathan. Hover over the photos to see some names and other details.