The last workshop in Tudor Revels’, ‘Making Ends Meet Tudor Style’ series, was Pole Lathe Turning and Woodcarving. I spent a very enjoyable afternoon, at The Hawthorns Centre on Southampton Common, learning all about these ancient rural crafts. The pole lathe turning demonstration was given by Huw Edwards, a local Coppice Craftsman.
Huw is an expert hurdle maker too. He brought with him a selection of hurdles that he had built using coppiced hazel wood. Huw also makes hazel wood thatching spars.
Using a pole lathe to turn wood was thought to have first been practiced in ancient Egypt, c300 BC. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) is known to have invented a treadle lathe with a crank mechanism. Craftsman and Woodturner, Stuart King, has actually built Da Vinci’s treadle wheel lathe, using a simple sketch c.1480 as his guide. If you would like to learn more about Stuart’s project then I recommend that you read his article, ‘How I built Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lathe’. It is incredible what Stuart recreated. For the article, please Click here.
The Turners’ Company is the oldest Livery Company in the City of London. In 1179, reference to a Guild first appears: ‘..the gild of strangers of which Warner le Turner is elderman.’ (The Turners’ Company website). It wasn’t until 1604 that the Turners were granted their first Royal Charter by King James I (1566-1625).
During the Tudor period, wood-turned domestic ware became less fashionable as a result of the introduction of pewter.
Inside The Hawthorns Centre, a woodcarving display was given by The Hampshire Woodcarvers Association. So many talented craftsmen working to create a wide range of objects fashioned from all different types of wood. One gentleman was making a sculptural relief of a chimpanzee, another a Green Man plaque and another creating a sign in gothic typeface.
- Stuart King, craftsman, artist, woodturner and photojournalist;
- Association of Pole Lathe Turners and Greenwood Workers;
- The Turners’ Company;
- The Heritage Crafts Association;
- The British Woodcarvers Association.