Wizardry in Wood 2021

It’s the last day today of the 2021 Wizardry in Wood exhibition, normally held every four years by the Worshipful Company of Turners. I thought that I would be able to take part this year after it had been postponed from last year because of Covid but sadly I had to withdraw.

Like so many women I have been suffering with various symptoms that going through the menopause brings. It’s a very unpleasant time which throws up many challenges – particularly when it comes to trying to maintain your work levels. Not only have my energy levels and general mojo been down, my immune system has also been thrown out of wack and with Covid still very much with us I did not feel that it was a wise idea to travel to London and be at a show (hopefully) filled with people!

I did make a couple of sets of salt and pepper mills to send to the show which the organisers were kind enough to exhibit on their Bursary stand.

The pink and black mills were inspired by the beautiful Japanese magnolia trees, Magnolia Liliiflora. They began on a visit that I made to Bodnant Gardens in North Wales. This beautiful National Trust property is famous for its collections of plants from all around the world and among them are more than 500 magnolias. I love their large dramatic flowers graduating from a deep pink to white and so I used this as inspiration on the deeply carved sycamore base and top.

I also love the process of Shou Sugi Ban – the particularly striking method of preserving wood by charring which originated in Japan in the 18th century. Burning wood gives it a different softer black to colouring it with paints or dyes and accentuates the grain. So for the other mill base and top I scorched the surface of the turned elm and wire brushed it to bring out the beautiful three dimensional grain texture.

There is also a wonderful sunken pool surrounded by plants of all different purple hues which is one of my favourite parts of the garden. One of them is Osteospermum Purple Sun, with stunning flowers graduating out from purple to pink to yellow. The photos that I took of them led to this new second set of mills that I made for Wizardry in Wood. The bases of the mills are turned and carved before being airbrushed to match these vibrant colours, and the tops have a ‘blobbed’ texture to represent the centre of the flower.

I hope that all the other makers had a great show!