The work of bowlturner Robin Wood, who has helped save an ancient and almost dying craft, has been featured in movies and on TV and can be found in museums as well as the homes of many discerning diners.
Now, to celebrate 20 years of working with wood, he is staging an exclusive exhibition of his new work at Haddon Hall.
Featuring more than 50 new pieces, many turned and carved from wood from the Haddon Estate, Robin’s exhibition highlights both the beauty and functionality of woodware and takes inspiration from the fantastic medieval woodwork at the hall.
The new work is made using techniques learned from Robin’s studies of medieval craftsmen and from his travels to work with Japanese carpenters, Norwegian shipwrights and Romanian carvers.
Robin, who is based in Edale, made the woodware for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film, replica items for the Mary Rose, objects for the Jorvik Viking Museum, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London.
He has demonstrated traditional woodworking techniques on TV including building a replica Bronze Age boat for BBC’s Time Team, a chariot axle for Meet The Ancestors and turning bowls on Countryfile.
“I’ve be fortunate to be able to pursue a career working with special, old trees at the end of their natural lives and I can make something beautiful and functional that will last and give pleasure for generations to come.
“I think of this new work – particularly the larger bowls – as functional sculpture. It is an art object that is collectable but can also be used and will get better with age and use.
“Through this exhibition I want to start a conversation about the beauty and benefit of using woodware today.
“Being a natural organic material, wood is also more connected to the food we eat. Wood is a natural insulator so it keeps your food warm and it is carbon neutral.
“For a thousand years before the Stoke potteries made mass-produced ceramics, we were a nation that preferred to eat from wood. I love the fact that some people are rediscovering that pleasure.”
Lady Edward Manners, who commissioned the exhibition at her home, said: “I adore Robin’s work and the links back to Haddon’s medieval past.
“His bowls are not only exquisite in design but very useable. Look at our wonderful Tudor bowl still in place in the kitchens here at Haddon today, with barely a blemish on it. You can see why Robin is so passionate about working with wood and keeping the skill of the turning tradition alive.”
Robin Wood: The Exhibition, Haddon Hall September 7 – November 1. Wood turning demonstrations will be held on September 5 and 6.