Friday, October 10, 2014

Woodturning: A journey of discovery

Clyde Neumann, a woodturner who lives in the Natal Midlands writes:
I am a retired engineer who never considered myself to be artistic. It is generally thought that most engineers can only produce drawings with straight lines! However, I have always enjoyed hobbies that involve working with wood on a lathe,in particular, as I can see a shape evolving as I am creating each wooden object.
1990 was the turning point in my journey of discovery: in that year, following a visit to the wood turner, John Early, in theDargle Valley, my hobby of wood turning grew into my passion and my profession. 
Since then it has been a journey of discovery for me: I continuously experiment during the act of creating my work: the result is that my wooden objects are continually evolving. From 2007 when I retired as an engineer, my hobby of wood turning grew into a passion to continuously produce beautiful wooden bowls and to encourage others to do the same.
I do not have a single signature style. While I still enjoy working with some of the truly beautiful wood that is so readily available in KZN to produce items with a natural patina, I also enjoy combining plain wood with other media. 
My bowls have been enhanced by the use of various techniques. They include texturing, carving, piercing, burning, marbling, the application of colour, and the addition of pewter. 
I also derive much pleasure from teaching woodturning to others and encouraging them to develop an artistic style rather than to produce purely functional items.

Clyde Neumann comes from a family gifted in woodwork : from the age of five, he was able to observe his father and grandfather working with wood; and he had an uncle who introduced him to wood turning These members of his family put together a rudimentary lathe driven by foot power which Clyde used to make candle sticks, table lamps lidded boxes and powder bowls right up until the time he went to University. 
He says he is fortunate as a wood turner to live in KZN as there is a wide variety of both exotic and indigenous trees at his disposal. He obtains wood directly from local gardens or from a tree feller in the area. 
He uses woods such as Jacaranda, London Plane, Natal Mahogany, Indian Mahogany, Fever Tree, Cape Chestnut and Norfolk pine which he obtains from local gardens. Other woods like Red Ivory, Ysterhout, Kiaat, Sneezewood, Macaranga and Transvaal Boekenhout are purchased from a vendor.- 
Some woods are very attractive and interesting; however Jacaranda is very plain and he has tried many ways of enhancing his bowls through the use of various techniques. These include texturing, carving, piercing, pyrography, burning, adding colour using artists’ acrylics, stains, lacquers, marbelling and by adding pewter.
As well as producing works for his own gratification he also enjoys teaching children and adults the art of wood turning.
He has sold many of his bowls to visitors from the USA, Canada, England, Greece, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand.