Shape And Design At The NWG

The September meeting of the Nova Woodturners’ Guild, held at Halifax Specialty Hardwoods, focused on the sometimes elusive and often overlooked topic of Shape and Design. This was presented by Guild members Alan Hunt and Dianne Looker.

Alan spoke about the general concepts of shape and design and what we are looking to achieve as woodturners. Using both drawings and actual examples he showed us what works and what doesn’t, and why we find some pieces appealing and why we find some pieces that aren’t so appealing.

He spoke on ways to envision the desired shapes for turning by using a catenary curve, which is best described as the curve that a hanging chain assumes when it is held by its ends. He also gave an explanation of the Golden Mean, which is a “mathematical concept that expresses the relationship of two parts of a whole with each other and with the whole”.

Unfortunately there was not enough time for a thorough lecture and study on the immense subject of design, or even the Golden Mean, but Alan did cover a lot of the basics and gave us plenty of food for thought. The considerations and concepts that he raised are an integral part of creating visually appealing turnings and meant to be explored more.

Following Alan’s presentation Dianne introduced us to a new and exciting Guild project that is called “The Shape Challenge”. It is an opportunity for all of the Guild members to participate in turning an item that will challenge us on a specific design, in this case, a concave.

This promises to be an exciting challenge and everyone is asked to participate. Dianne mentioned that in addition to the fun and understanding that can be gained from this project it is a real eye popper when all the same shaped pieces are displayed together!

Thanks to Alan and Dianne for their presentations tonight. Their one-two punch combining information and a related project made for an enjoyable session, and one that will obviously be on our minds over the next few months as we work towards completing the challenge. Great job!

This evening’s Show and Tell was a fantastic display of talent with members bringing in a multitude of pieces that they did over the summer. There was a spin top lidded box, several other small boxes, a Longworth chuck, three small Southwest pots, several beautiful pens, a burl bowl with handcrafted metal stand, a three-pointed bowl, a small spice funnel, an Oak, lidded, hollow form, an enclosed bowl, an Ash bowl and plate, a large Birch bowl and several segmented turnings. It was obvious that there was a lot of great turning done over the summer. Kudos to everyone and thanks for sharing!

The business portion of the meeting began with an update on the upcoming ‘Turning of Age’ exhibition and a reminder that this is a snapshot of woodturning in Atlantic Canada today and that everyone, regardless of skill level, should participate. This was followed by several issues related to the Annual Competition which were discussed and voted on.

There was also quite the frenzy tonight as members jostled to be first in line to pay their 2010-2011 season memberships. Seriously, people were tripping over each other. 🙂

The evening ended with time to socialize and shop. The coffee, tea and donuts supplied by Halifax Specialty Hardwoods were certainly appreciated, as was the generous discount offered on wood purchased tonight.

Special thanks to all the participants and especially Halifax Hardwood Specialties for making it such a great evening!

There were 35 members in attendance for this fantastic start to the 2010-2011 season.

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