20 Minutes with Robbie Graham archive
Monday 20 August 2012
New Zealand turner Robbie Graham turns with native timbers and produces a variety of non-functional art pieces. Tegan Foley finds out more
1. Can you briefly explain the type of work you carry out at present?
I produce mainly non-functional art pieces featuring multi-axis work, texturing with pyrography and pieces that are enhanced with acrylic or metallic paints.
2. What direction do you see your work taking in the future?
I am very happy about the direction my art work is going in at the moment and hope to keep developing my skills, styles and technique to create more exciting designs within my current series and begin to create
3. If you could only offer one bit of advice to someone starting out turning, what would it be and why?
Join a woodturning club and take lessons, as it will help speed up the process.
4. What music are you currently into?
Classic rock such as Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.
5. What is your favourite timber to turn?
At the moment pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) which is a native New Zealand coastal tree with beautiful red-coloured timber.
6. Which are your favourite items to turn?
Competition pieces because they allow me to push boundaries.
7. Which turners do you most admire, and why?
Rolly Munro as he has turned many very inspirational art pieces and taken woodturning to another level here in New Zealand, in my view. Alby Hall is another turner to do this and both have been a big inspiration to me. I could state a lot more names but the list would be very long, but these two are the main reason why I push myself to produce better pieces.
8. What do you think the best single development in turning has been?
I think good quality hollowing tools changed woodturning and helped push woodturning into more of an art form and allowed turners to be more creative.
9. What do you see yourself doing in five years' time?
I would hope that I am still producing woodturned art pieces and some fabulous outdoor and indoor sculptures, as well as travelling to the UK and the USA to demonstrate woodturning.
10. What do you see as the biggest thing that has hindered the development of woodturning in general?
Most people see it as a functional craft item and many do not see it as an art form the way that they understand a painting is for decorating a wall.
11. What would you say is your biggest regret?
Not joining a woodturning club 14 years earlier.
12. What are your other interests besides turning?
Photography, fishing, squash and motorcycles.
13. What three things in your workshop could you not do without?
Bandsaw, compressor and purpose-built, heavy-duty lathe. I built the lathe myself to suit the offcentre work that I do.
14. Describe the view from your workshop?
I look across the road and see the stunning Lake Taupo from my workshop door.