• Roger Waterhouse

Mud and Elm

The extraordinary piece of cherry which i showed in my last blog was sold at the Great Dome Art Fair in Buxton, and is now in China.

My talk at that event was less successful. I had 60 odd slides which were effectively the prompts for what I wanted to say. It started well, but after number ten the pictures had been randomised. I had a hard copy printout which I gave to the savvy young woman who was technical assistant, and she managed to rescue some of the order. But it took too long and I had to cut the whole thing short. There audience were understanding though, and seemed to appreciate what (little) I had to say. I'll think twice before volunteering for another talk next year!

Yesterday was the Ashover Show, which, as I said, is a real authentic country show. Unfortunately it rained. And rained and rained! With predictable results.


However, a little mud doesn't deter real country people, and my sales were three times up on last year!

About a month ago I was rummaging through old bowl blanks and came across one which looked really interesting. I rough turned it before setting it aside to dry out thoroughly. I was well pleased with the figuring of it, but I couldn't decide what wood it was, and couldn't remember how I had come by it. What particularly irked me was I knew the smell of it, but couldn't place it.

Today i put it back in the lathe for finishing, got the same smell and it suddenly came to me - elm! The areas of creamy whiteness had completely put me off, and although I turned a lot of elm in the late 70s and 80s there has been little available since. The smell was a clincher. But I'll show you the appearance and you'll probably understand what put me off.

Great shame that elm wood is now so rare. And depressing that a Scottish friend of mine tells me that north of Fife, where the elms had escaped the great devastation, the disease is now rampant. Just hope that ash die-back doesn't hit us here, or Ashover will loose almost all its tree cover.

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