Working with wood 'rewarding'

19:48, Jul 20 2014
timaru woodturners alby hall adriaan slooten
SHOWING TECHNIQUE: Artist and master woodturner Alby Hall, left, tutors Timaru Woodturners' Club past president Adriaan Slooten during a session yesterday in Timaru.

A master woodturner would like to see young people's attention spans increase so they can experience the pleasure of creating items from wood.

Renowned artist and woodturner Alby Hall taught technique and tool control to members of the Timaru and Christchurch woodturners' clubs in Washdyke during the weekend.

Hall told the Herald he thought it was a shame many young people were not attracted to hobbies that required patience.

"Other things are available to them, electronic stuff which shortens their attention span," he said.

The Australian-born woodturner funded his study of art through fishing, then collected wood in Tasmania for furniture making, which piqued his interest in the natural timber.

"I like being able to manipulate wood into shapes. It's a great medium."


His favourite materials are huon pine from Tasmania and New Zealand black maire and beech. He estimates it takes a couple of years of practice before a novice woodturner can make items they are happy with.

The highlight for Hall so far has been creating a 400mm wooden mosaic orb with his son and apprentice Dylan, 17.

It took 65 hours. A kiwi was fashioned on one end and a panda on the other end of the ancient kauri timber.

Prime Minister John Key presented the stunning piece to China's President Xi Jinping earlier this year.

The Timaru Herald