woodturning, Thoughts

Goodbye to the Hampshire woodturners association

After about two and a half years of being a member of the Hampshire woodturners association, it is time to say goodbye. Tomorrow's meeting is the AGM marking the end of the subscription year, and since I am planning to move away from the area in the next few months, I will not be renewing my membership. I've learned a great deal in the last few years, and if anyone is interested in woodturning but not yet a member of their local club, I suggest you join one! I will certainly be locating a local club as soon as I move.

I will miss the HWA, and the great people that work hard to make it such a good experience. From encouraging novice turners with some positive critique, arranging hands on sessions, planning demonstrations, running the tea earn, the raffle. The list goes on. I suspect many members don't think much about how much work is put in by a few to ensure everything runs smoothly.

For my own part, I have tried to give a little back to the club by running the hwa website. Though in truth after the initial migration onto a wordpress platform my efforts mostly involved cut'n'paste from the material provided by Dave Gibbard. I am glad to report that as of today the new style website has had 26,400 views since it's launch, which I'm sure is a reflection of the demonstration writeups provided by Dave, and the amazing club turnings featured in our galleries.

New member Phil Bristow has agreed to take on the job of webmaster, and I'm glad to leave it in such capable hands.

I was trying to think of a favourite demo from the past few years, but it is an impossible task. I've seen so many fascinating techniques and ideas both from professional demonstrators and our clubs own members that I could probably spend a few more years doing nothing but experiment with those projects.

One thing I would single out from the last few months are the club competitions which we now have roughly once per quarter. I personally find I work best within a given constraint, attempting to form an idea around some particular remit, rather than being left to infinite options. That was something that I felt helped me as a novice, developing items around a project theme handed out by Harry. Now that this is a club wide opportunity, it is amazing to see the sheer variety of inspiration drawn from a common root. And of course to see the talent of our members on show with some really beautifully made pieces.

From very early on I got so much from the club that I was surprised at just how low the yearly subscriptions were (and still are) and decided to make sure I put £5 into the raffle each month as a way to further support the club. Sadly this plan backfired somewhat as I suspect in the last few years I've won prizes worth more than my ticket costs ;-) So tomorrow I shall have to make sure I stock up on any essentials from the club shop before I leave for the last time.

Thank you to all the members of the HWA that have made it such a great part of my woodturning experience.