A turn for the better – myCornwall talks to wood turner and craftsman Howard Moody.
Lathes and other wood carving paraphernalia sit beside a motorbike, car and other odds and ends in a large barn at the bottom of woodworker Howard Moody’s garden. It’s a bloke’s den of sorts and one that Howard spends a lot of time in and one he thoroughly enjoys working in. Living in the back of beyond, as friends describe it, Howard enjoys the piece and tranquillity the Roseland Peninsula provides.
Howard’s love affair with producing his beautiful wood creations began in his teens after being given a lathe by his father. Although rough to begin with, his skills have grown immensely since those early days. The pieces he produces are as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as they are beautiful to the touch.
Where does he find inspiration? “I’m influenced by many different things including seed pods and leaves. I also like the process of how certain organic items decay,” Howard said by way of explaining the dramatic yet warm pieces of work on display.
Of course it’s not all decay. “I’m also influenced by erosion and the effects of weather on the world around me. The unique patterns formed by the elements.” “I rarely have a plan of how the piece of work will look when finished. It all evolves as I progress with the piece.”
Howard uses green wood when starting out on a piece. “I work in creating a form from the raw piece and then cut, turn or chisel a rough design. I then date the piece and put in on my workshop shelves to dry out thoroughly.” The works can take many months to complete and some much longer. This time delay is illustrated perfectly by the dates that appear on the works drying out on the shelves in the workshop. Some date back several years; one piece was marked 2007.
Doesn’t he get frustrated with pieces that old sitting on the shelves? “Some pieces are not meant to be completed,” Howard explains. “I get bored or what I set out to do just doesn’t form properly once I start on the piece.” So on the shelf they remain.
Once the work is formed it’s finished using natural oils such as teak or linseed. Where does he get the wood? “All the materials I use come from sustainable sources such as woodland worked by the National Trust,” says Howard. “I’m always aware of where the wood originates.”
Howard professes his love of things mechanical thus explaining why he has a copy of Ray Bacon’s BSA Twin Restoration Book on his living room table. “I love engines, motors and of course wood,” he says. “I suppose it’s a very male thing.” It’s not just his completed works that are being recognised. With much of his work on show at numerous galleries, his skills have been on display.
During the summer Howard’s skills drew audiences when he was ‘Woodworker in Residence’ at the Lost Gardens of Heligan Gardens.
Contact Howard Moody on 01872 501921
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