20 years of woodturning at Kilkenny Arts Festival

This year, at the Ormond College, the Southeast Woodturning Group celebrates their 20th year exhibiting at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. From humble beginnings in 1991, the 2011 exhibition promises to be one of Irelands largest and best displays of the woodturning craft bya a group of highly skilled craftsmen from the Southeast. Many of the exhibitors were members of the Southeast Woodturners Chapter which have won the All Ireland Woodturning Chapter Challenge every year since its inception in 2008.

This year, at the Ormond College, the Southeast Woodturning Group celebrates their 20th year exhibiting at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. From humble beginnings in 1991, the 2011 exhibition promises to be one of Irelands largest and best displays of the woodturning craft bya a group of highly skilled craftsmen from the Southeast. Many of the exhibitors were members of the Southeast Woodturners Chapter which have won the All Ireland Woodturning Chapter Challenge every year since its inception in 2008.

With an emphasis on high quality at a reasonable price, there is something for everyone, and even if you are not buying you are most welcome to come along and browse, as one of the aims of this group is to promote woodturning as a craft. Members will be available at all times to meet anyone interested in taking up the craft.

Local woodturners exhibiting this year will be:

Gabriel Wall from Callan, who is fast becoming one of Irelands leading woodturners. Last year he won first prize at the Irish Woodturners Guild Annual Seminar with his “Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger”, a beautiful burr oak bowl with stainless steel additions. He specialises in bowls and lamps.

Paddy Murphy from Thomastown has won acclaim at home and in the UK and Australia for the quality and creativity of his work. A former winner of the Irish Turner of the year, he is a regular exhibitor and winner at woodturning competitions all over the country. When you see his work the first question nearly always is “how did he do that?”

PJ Ryan from Bennetsbridge has been exhibiting in Kilkenny for many years. His work is characterised by his designs which show off the natural beauty of the wood.

Harry Reid from Stoneyford is returning after an absence of some years. Harry has had solo exhibitions in St. Mary’s Hall.

George Wills from Inistioge is a well know woodturner and tutor and has been exhibiting since 1991.

Bobby Lynch from Callan, although a relative newcomer, exhibits a wide range of superbly crafted items.

Liam Kirwan from Kilkenny has again exhibited with the group for many years, and also exhibits regularly in Kilkenny.

Seosamh O O’Faoláin from Freshford is also a first time exhibitor and his sculptured pieces are sure to attract a lot of attention.

And from outside Kilkenny -

Padraig Phelan from Portlaoise is exhibiting for the first time. Over the past couple of years Padraig has demonstrated the quality of his workmanship at the Groups monthly competitions where he is a regular winner.

Tom Larkin from Carrick on Suir, along with George Wills, has exhibited every year since 1991. He produces a wide range of high quality items from the functional to the decorative made from native Irish hardwoods.

Jim Hickey from Borris specialises in work that leaves the raw material ‘speak for itself’ His pieces frequently contain the natural defects or bark of the wood to produce a unique effect.

Brendan Hogg from Clonmel is another master craftsman. His forte is design and his work is regularly selected for entry to the RDS Crafts Competition - the craft workers Olympics.