Thursday, 5 February 2015


Text: Hina Nitesh

Delicate and fragile are not the emotions one feels when the material in question is wood. 
However, one look at Joey Richardson's work will have you thinking otherwise.

The simple act of turning wood on lathe can result in breathtakingly beautiful pieces. I would not have believed this for myself had I not seen some exquisite pieces handmade by the lady who is the subject of my post for today. 

Joey Richardson is a professional turner who wears many hats. She is a mother and a housewife apart from pursuing her love for wood as a full time turner (I didn't even know about a profession like this but it is making a resurgence in the UK and the US). 

For Joey, making things with her own hands came naturally as she was growing up on a farm in Lincolnshire, England. There was plenty of wood on the farm from which she would fashion wooden jumps for ponies. The love for wood working took a back seat when she went to an all girls school.

Years later, she met with an accident which made her think about wood work that she had enjoyed while growing up. She joined an adult education general wood working class. Here she was fascinated by the idea of turning wood. It was a quick process and one could see the forms emerging almost immediately. She hit a roadblock when the class stopped due to funding issues.

Opportunity knocked again a few years later and she joined another turning and carving class run by Chris Stott. It was here that she rediscovered her love for turning. Another accident resulted in a cut finger (which could be saved) and became a turning point in her life. She won a prize at the International Show at Wembley proving to herself and to anyone who doubted her, what she was capable of.

A chance look at the work of another master craftsman, Binh Pho, proved inspiring. Through him she added piercing, texturing, colouring etc to her portfolio. About his influence on her work she says, "He opened my eyes to new horizons; he showed me how to focus all my ideas, feelings and enthusiasm into creating what I now feel are art forms which reflect my inner self. Inspiration grew as I spent time with Binh Pho; I learned to refine my traditional methods and to add new, innovative techniques: piercing, colour, carving and texture." (courtesy

Joey who describes her work as 'therapeutic', finds inspiration from the nature. Each and every piece made by her is a collector's item. Her love for detailing echoes in her pieces which are a perfect combination of both turning and piercing. Though she has come a long way from the little girl in the farm there is a clear influence of nature from her farm days in her work.

The flora, the fauna and everything else that she sees around her come, her children' dreams and aspirations, places she visits – all come alive in her pieces. For her each piece is unique and has a story to tell of some happy moments of her life. She also uses colours in her work but does not let them over power the essence of the piece. In fact it is a delicate balance that she maintains with piercing, turning and colours. Each piece has an organic form with gentle curves that seem to flow effortlessly. There is a certain femininity (if I may say so without sounding biased) in her work because of which she handles the material with such sensitivity that it creates such beautiful and delicate pieces.

To sum up, it would be apt to quote Joey: 'For too long wood has played a supportive role to art in the form of canvas, paper and frames. Let wood now speak for itself.'(

I had a tough time deciding which works to feature here. Log onto her webpage and see the entire portfolio for yourself.

                                                                                          All images: Joey Richardson
Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   

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