The Woodturning Studio, Gorey, Co Wexford
Having always had a passion for woodturning, Robert O Connor concentrated on kitchen and cabinet making for more than twenty years. The downturn in the economy in recent years, with the resultant fall in demand for kitchen units was instrumental in Robert’s decision to explore alternative income streams. His skills and expertise in wood turning, coupled with his desire to share these skills with others led him to opening a woodturning studio and developing a range of wood turning classes at his premises on the Arklow Road in Gorey.
With the benefit of LEADER grant aid from Wexford Local Development (WLD) towards equipment and marketing costs, Robert now offers individual and group woodturning classes to people of all abilities. Robert loves the teaching role where he can pass on his unique talents thereby bringing satisfaction and a sense of achievement to his students who include retired persons, unemployed and underemployed who wish to develop a new skill.
The availability of individual tuition in the unique skill of woodturning benefits a range of people in the wider community. The new business is also a welcome addition to the facilities available in Gorey town.
In addition to the provision of woodturning classes, Robert also displays wood turned products available for sale. These unique works include functional pieces which cater for the household/domestic market such as salad & fruit bowls, lamps, clocks etc as well as artistic gallery pieces which are largely hollow forms and wall hangings. Robert loves the challenge of producing classical, turned forms from wind-fallen local timbers and being able to extract the hidden beauty of the timber pieces.
The target market for the sale of products include private householders who value unique Irish craft pieces. Other target customers include golf clubs, GAA clubs and other organisations who commission handmade products for presentations and prizes. Recently, Robert was proud to be asked to commission individual pieces for prize winners at the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing Championships held in Gorey, Co Wexford. Each piece of wood is selected for its natural grain and character and is then planed, turned with perfection and finished to enhance it’s natural beauty.
Robert is a member of the Irish Woodturners Guild (IWG) and the Crafts Council of Ireland and acknowledged as one of the best in the country at his craft. His multi-award winning works are displayed at various venues throughout the country including the Guinness Storehouse, Kilkenny Design Centre, The JFK Arboretum and the historic Wicklow Jail.
Robert works full time in the business, while his wife Mary works on a part-time basis. Mary participated in the recent WLD Craft Training programme and sees participation in the WLD supported Wexford Craft Trail of utmost importance to the success of The Woodturning Studio.
For more information, visit www.thewoodturningstudio.ie or facebook.com/WexfordCraftTrailNetwork