Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1937, I grew up in a mining community where hobbies and pastimes were numerous, yet woodturning relatively unknown.
My first experiences on a lathe were under the guidance of my father-in-law, Andrew Hunter, a miner with many woodworking skills, including turning. His source of materials were the ship breakers yards around Kirkcaldy and Burntisland, where teak, mahogany and walnut could be had when one had the right contacts and a small renumeration changed hands.
The items produced, at that time were purely functional - mainly lamps, bowls and stools - quite different to the range of work created today. The use of recently felled timber was not a considered option then. In the sixties, I moved from the East of Scotland to the West and settled in Argyll. At that time woodturning took on a completely new meaning for me, with the availability of local hardwoods and the realisation that I was not the only Woodturner on the planet.
Thanks to the articles on woodturning featured in the early editions of the "Woodworker", I was stimulated to be more creative in my woodturning ideas. My home-built lathe, constructed from the discarded pistons of a "lister" engine,mounted in a 8 by 8 foot garden shed, produced bowls and vases, which were of a quality and variety, I had not produced before.
From these early days ( a few new lathes and workshops later) I moved to Dunoon on the shores of the Clyde and under the lee of Glenmorag, where I have always sought to create my own personal style, taking advantage of the woods natural features, such as burrs, defects and discolouration, to achieve turnings which are unique as well as being both functional and decorative.