I began to turn wood in England in 1970 at the age of 26 and after a successful career in the London wine trade. I was never a hobby turner. When I decided to turn wood for a living late in 1969 I knew nothing of the craft other than it involved a lathe and tools with long handles. I reckoned that if I enjoyed the craft all I had to do was develop good technical skills and marketing, and I’d earn a decent living selling what I enjoy making. And that that’s what I’ve done since mid-1970, first in England, then, from 1982, Australia. Being the only turner juried into The Craftsman’s Art, a seminal exhibition in London in 1973, was a great boost to my career as that led to my bowls being in a lot of major exhibitions and on the British Crafts Council Slide Index Selection Panel from 1973 to 1980.
In 1970 I had to create a market for the one-off bowls I inevitably produced as a novice, but after two sales trips I got repeat orders. I was turning utilitarian bowls, scoops, and plates that sold to kitchen, gift, and souvenir shops; and I also sold a lot of delicate bowls, scoops, and boxes to gift shops and craft galleries. I never needed to consign work and that’s why I’ve seldom had work in American galleries. Immigrating to Australia was risky business-wise because I had to start over in a new environment, but fortunately that didn’t take too long.