Roger Waterhouse: woodturner

There are piles of wood inside and outside the Ashover workshop of Roger Waterhouse.

He has loved working with wood all his life. He made furniture and sculptures when he was younger and then discovered woodturning in his 30s.

For the former – and first – vice-chancellor of the University of Derby the craft was at first a hobby – something he could escape to in contrast to his day job.

Now retired, Roger can devote as much time as he wishes to what he says has become his passion.

The most important thing to him is to choose the wood with which he works carefully and he says that almost all of it is sourced from within a few miles of his Derbyshire farmhouse.

“I am lucky to have woodland of my own but my neighbours and friends also bring me wood they think I will use.

“I work with green wood which warps, with fallen wood with interesting spalting (colouration by fungi) and with wood which has grown in a twisted or convoluted way.

“I am fascinated by the way the wood reveals its beauty depending on how I shape it.

“It is all about discovering the shape and uncovering the character of the wood. I know it will twist and change shape as it dries but I have no idea what it will look like in the end.”

Roger’s workshop has been purpose-built to house his tools of the trade including the vital lathe.

He will be taking part in the Derbyshire Open Arts event with the PDA at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale from May 28-30; the Great Dome Art Fair in Buxton on July 16 and 17 and will be at Ashover Show in August.

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