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  • Writer's pictureCarey Tate

West Island Woodturners have been sharing and perfecting their craft for thirty-five years.

Thirty-five years ago, a group of keen West Island woodturners got together in search of a space to practice their craft. The West Island Woodturners formed, and weekly meetings between like-minded artisans have been held ever since.

Their 45 members gather at a room in Pointe-Claire's Town Hall building every Tuesday and can range from beginners to seasoned professionals. The group's eldest member is in his mid-90s and has been turning since the 50s. The finished products can include decorative bowls and plates, the legs of tables or chairs, and staircase spindles. President Nigel Sears says there are no bounds to what can be made when a turner's creativity is at work:

"Mother Nature provides us with amazing raw materials. As Michelangelo said, there is a statue in the block of marble; I've just got to find it. When I look at a piece of wood, members and I will visualize how we want to transform the wood."

PHOTO: Facebook, West Island Woodturners.

Nigel makes a point of recycling wood and repurposing fallen trees, of which there were many in the spring due to wind and ice storms. He will give the property owners his first project from that tree as a commemorative gift. "Losing a tree can be upsetting; getting a part of that tree back in another form gives you a fond memory to look at."

Giving back to the City of Pointe-Claire and its community organizations is a priority for the club. Wooden ornaments were made and sold with proceeds benefitting the library, and an upcoming silent auction being held by the West Island Women's Centre will feature the group's donated pieces.

PHOTO: Facebook, West Island Woodturners.

There are no prerequisites to join; turners of all levels are welcome. You will need a lathe and tools; it also helps to have a set-up at home to work on your pieces. The turners make a point of helping one another out. If one has a larger studio or more equipment, they will lend a hand, and more experienced turners will mentor newer members.

"The basis of the club is to pass on the skill and knowledge involved to new turners and to encourage them to push themselves and try more adventurous pieces," President Nigel Sears concluded.


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