An open mind is a vital tool


Mark Baker

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The trip to Tampa, Florida to go to the AAW symposium was, as always, productive but as mentioned, quick and I have just about recovered from the jetlag. It seems that August will be quite a quiet month for me as far as visits, demos and such like, apart from the fact that I am demonstrating at the AWGB event in Loughborough and I’m looking forward to that a lot. It is a great chance to share ideas and catch up with people, but likewise all such events are demanding and ultimately leave me tired afterwards.

The rest of the month will see me trying to take some weekends off and go fishing or similar… oh, and finish off another book. I may have to work those weekends I planned to go fishing. Urghh! Needs must I suppose.

I am working through a lot of correspondence received lately about people’s requests for this or that to be included in the magazine and from the comments passed whilst I have been visiting clubs and so on, it seems there has been an increase in beginners, or rather, newcomers to turning. Is this something your club is experiencing? Many who have written or spoken to me have commented that they do not belong to a club, others have said they were not aware of any in their locality. Of course, some people have found clubs in their vicinity and are going along to see what happens there.

To the nay-sayers who claim that turning is dying out, I can only say that is not what we are seeing. That said, it may be the case that you are not necessarily seeing them at your club. Many it seems are solitary and do not wish to join anything, but want to be creative in their workshop and turning is providing that for them. The questions asked are the same as they have ever been: “How do I sharpen and use this?”, “Where do you get your ideas from?” and another favourite “… What finish do you use?” Knowledge is available in so many forms and formats that people are not short of being able to access information. The trick is sifting out the good from the bad and not becoming hidebound in one way of thinking. I have always found that an open mind is one vital tool that people all too easily forget about. Pre-conceived ideas do not help learning. That said, having a good mentor or mentors to guide and help has been invaluable to me and many others have experienced a similar situation. So I would ask that people make available their time if they can to help out when required. But on a different note, what are clubs doing to promote their presence to the local area? I know that if a club belongs to the AWGB or another national association then their details – should they wish – are placed on a website, but can we assume people even know there is a national association or even that people have access or know how to use the Internet?

Happy turning,


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