This year I had to travel miles right across the country to near Cambridge, and what a Ball it was. This year I was asked to do a sharpening workshop and I scheduled this first thing in the morning. Lunch and then a demo in how to carve a dragons head, and the a bit later a fan bird carving demo. I did not get around to see any demos, but I had Sunday free to see if I might have won anything in the competitions. The competitions are split into lots of categories: professional and beginner pit there skills against each other and there are often surprises. I love this democratic vote of all the members judging each entry and deciding which is the best. This year I knew I had some stiff competition in the non turned treen sectionas John Waricker entered a beautiful legged bowl. My huge shrink pot came second. As far as I know this is the biggest shrink pot made in this country for centuries. If you know better please prove me wrong. The pot is beech and the base is western red cedar. The lid is rippled willow with a walnut handle pinned in with ash dowels and pegs. Home made milk paint was used for the colour and fake gold leaf. Finished on the outside with oil.
My bowl was not placed and this year no bowls won prizes, they all went to turned drinking vessels.
The spoon class was at last split into 2 categories, knife finish and sanded finish. I put one of my dragon headed spoons in and won. To my great surprise I also won the overall spoon prize and I got the Barry Plant spoon trophy for a year. Some of you may remember that I made this trophy some years ago. Apparently Barry would have approved of my spoon and the fact that I also won his trophy.
It sometimes is odd looking back on old work, and can easily find fault with it. What is done is done and we cannot change that, but I am always driven to do better and proud of my critical eye. More on this in another post, where I may revel some work that I made and was so proud of at the time but cringe in horror at now.
The half hour challenge is my favourite competition. This year it was a balancing dragonfly. I will be teaching this at the Sussex and Surrey coppice week in August, and I think these workshops are open to anyone. I feel that this dragonfly needs just another 5 minutes of knife work, just to finish it off.