“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” - a remark once made by the famous Henry Ford which, all these years later, resonates to the success of the local Shannonside Woodturner’s Chapter which has seen its membership double since its inception just two years ago.
Founded by Arthur Cumiskey and Paddy Courtney in November 2011, the group started out with just 15 members; now there are 30 with the age bracket extending from 14 years to 70. Woodturning is both an art and a skill and the local chapter meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:30pm, and, the venue rotates between three of the members’ workshops in Longford town.
“The committee was elected on November 30, 2011 with myself as chairman; Dermot Wall, vice chairman; Pat Courtney, secretary; Eddie Leavy, treasurer and Michael Galvin, PRO – and basically it all kicked off from there,” a delighted Mr Cumiskey told the Leader. “The beauty of all this, is that, people don’t have to be experienced wood turners to join; we have beginners and those with experience all coming together on a common platform where ideas and information can be shared and gathered. Members also get to explore their own creativity through the design of their unique pieces.”
With each gathering, more and more hand crafted objects emerge, and there are usually demonstrations by members or invited guests. “Luckily there are quite a few turners who provide demonstrations and pass on their skills,” Mr Cumiskey continued. “The chairman of the Irish Woodturner’s Guild, Willie Creighton has been particularly helpful and supportive to us in setting up the chapter here in Longford, and has even provided us with a number of very valuable demonstrations. The information that we gather and provide to each other is also a very important aspect of our chapter – information like where to source wood, what wood is the most suitable for turning and where to source sharpening tools and equipment is crucial.”
The Irish Woodturner’s Guild – to which the Shannonside Woodturner’s Chapter is affiliated – was established in 1983 to provide support and help to turners in Ireland. It now boasts 20 chapters nationally and has over 800 members on its books. “Shannonside Woodturner’s Chapter covers five counties including Longford, Westmeath, Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon and new members are always welcome,” Mr Cumiskey added. “There is an annual membership fee of €54 and there is a great social aspect for all of us as well, because of the affiliation to the Irish Woodturner’s Guild which is a huge network nationally. It hosts an annual gathering for members, which takes place over the course of a weekend, and provides an opportunity for turners across the country to meet up, chat and get to know each other.”
Chapter members are encouraged to bring their creations along to the monthly meetings and there is a ‘theme’ to each project. For more details contact Arthur on (086) 1639048 or Pat on (087) 6568648.
Photos: Shelley Corcoran