By Simon Peacey
Albie Hall, head turner at Kauri Kingdom for the last 22 years, talked about the developments at Kauri Kingdom (about to be taken over and redeveloped by Ngati Kuri). Albie demonstrated the creation of a spiral pattern on spinning tops.
Albie very quickly turned the square blanks into cylinder then shaped the bottom of the spinning top.
He effortlessly formed the top surface and reduced the stem to a thickness whereby the top started to vibrate. By adjusting the stem thickness (thinner equals more vibration), the pressure on the gouge and the travel speed of the gouge across the surface, Albie created an interesting spiral pattern on the top surface of the top.
I found Albie’s design ideas inspiring. As an example of evolving design, he talked about creating small flat leaves from wood for resin inlays, then larger 3 dimensional leaves with a contrasting darker wood stem which he then developed into a leaf shaped box. Years ago he saw a stone which was enclosed in the roots of a tree. He has taken this idea and developed a variety of designs showcasing captive wooden stones. He encouraged us to look around our ordinary surroundings looking for shape, design and texture and inspiration.
Albie showed us an extensive range of photos of the woodturning, huge kauri tables, large resin inlays and sculptural pieces he has created over many years. I’m heartened that in Albie’s new role at Kauri Kingdom he will be able to take at least some of the many designs he’s drawn over the years and turn them into beautiful wooden creations.