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Mark Hancock
I moved to Wales (the bit stitching out on the left side of England) in 1986 to work as an accountant for a small firm. After 3 years the choice of relocation with the firm or redundancy gave me the opportunity to get out of the rat race and a career change. A desire to do woodturning full time led to taking up training with a professional turner. During this apprenticeship I managed second prize for turning in the National Eisteddfod of Wales 1990; first prize went to my tutor! It was fortunate that it was this way round otherwise I don't think he'd still be talking to me.

In 1990 I went professional starting at the bottom by selling my work at local craft fairs. This was a good grounding in the craft but a hard way to make a living. During this period I sold my Eisteddfod bowl - one of my biggest regrets. I eventually took the next step and decided to aim for the top end of the market. In 1998 I wangled a commission from the UK Foreign Office to produce work for 17 visiting foreign dignities attending the Cardiff European Union Summit. This was my lucky break; right place right time. In 2001 I was asked to be one of the main presenters at the Great Britain International Woodturning Seminar and this year I'm looking forward to the International Turning Exchange in Philadelphia, working with others lathe artists selected from the international community.

Most of my recent work is more an exploration of line and form than an effort at an artistic statement and it continually amazes me how each minute refinement of a curve can alter the character of a piece. I strive to achieve a perfect form - or at least something a little closer to it than anything I've done before. I'm still trying as there is always further to go. This has evolved to a series of work with hollow vessels based around a vase design with exaggerated rims that are partly removed and shaped. The inspiration for these came from the image of a falling drop of water with the incising giving each piece a sense of movement. The use of sycamore allows the form to take prominence.

I have work at a number of galleries throughout the UK and the USA. I've participated in exhibitions at prominent galleries in Britain and abroad. As a result some people have started collecting my work which is good for the old self esteem.

I'm a member of the Makers Guild In Wales, the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain, the American Association of Woodturners and on the Register of Professional Turners of the Worshipful Company of Turners.

More details about myself and work can be found on my web site at www.markhancock.co.uk. This has brought interest in the courses I run with students coming to my workshop in Wales from as far afield as America and Israel. By the way it doesn't always rain in Wales!

Tools & Equipment:
The hollow forms are all turned from green timber on a Poolewood Euro 3000 lathe fitted with a foot switch which is an essential safety feature when turning my style of hollow forms. At club demos the foot switch is replaced by a member of the audience operating the on off switch on my commands. I use a range of different hollowing tools namely Woodcut (original and Proform), Hamlet, the Stewart System and the Wolok Hook Tool. All of the cranked versions of these have had to be modified in order to achieve the design/curves that I'm after. For the larger pieces the Dave Reeks trapped boring bar rig is used which has been adapted to take the previously mentioned hollowing tools along with custom made ones. Wall thickness is monitored using a flexi light. I use a pneumatic die grinder with dental burrs for the incising followed by microplane files and a mini drum sander to finish the edges. The work off the lathe is the most relaxing part of the process. I have to thank a number of American turners for inspiring me to do this.

featured artist
Mark Hancock
9 1/2" high x 9" dia
My favourite one of this series of work - also the hardest to do!
10 1/2" high x 7" dia
First time I tried another timber from sycamore
"Single Swirl"
8 1/2" high x 9" across
Sycamore with Slate base
14" high x 9" across
Horse Chestnut
11 1/2" high x 8"dia
Sycamore with Slate base
24" high x 9" dia
In the Daniel Collection featured in Woodturning magazine
9 3/4" high x 6 1/2" across
Included in AWGB publication
'Wonders In Wood - The Art of the Woodturner'

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