Mark Hancock (UK) burr elm bowl with gilded interior 10x26cm. Signed
I first met Ray at David Woodward’s gallery in Hay-on-Wye the day before the opening of the AWGB exhibition there in 1990. I was still training to be a woodturner at the time and was there with my tutor trying to get a couple of pieces of work included in the exhibition via the back door! We didn’t succeed but I still remember the generous comments given by Ray and his great friend, Bert Marsh, regarding our work. Over the years I met, worked and exhibited with Ray on so many occasions it’s difficult to remember them all. He had a great passion for the craft of woodturning with a wealth of knowledge and was a wonderful storyteller. I do recall the sound advice he gave me at two events where we were both demonstrating and have followed it ever since. My fondest memories are those after event get togethers with the banter flowing between Ray and Bert and crying with laughter. I feel truly privileged to have known him.
It’s always hard to complete someone else’s work particularly when that person is the legend Ray Key.
The elm piece had been mounted on a faceplate, the outside and top surface not covered by the faceplate had been turned. It had a tenon prepared on the base for a chuck.
The piece ran almost perfectly true when mounted in the old Axminster Super Precision chuck as used by Ray. I decided to keep to his KISS (“keep it simple stupid”) principle and removed as little as possible to true the outside up and keep to the original form as much as possible.
None of the centre had been removed, possibly because of the large crack on the outside, and my initial reaction was to leave it like that but that would have left the faceplate screw holes. I finally decided to hollow out enough just to eliminate the screw holes, trying to create a flowing internal surface with an undercut edge.
I was tempted to reduce the diameter of the rim in order to remove blemish in the edge but decided against that as I didn’t want to take away any more than I had to of Ray’s original work. It also reminded me of one of Ray’s pieces where he left a chainsaw cut in the finished work.
The gilding of the inside with 24 carat gold leaf is the only part that may possibly be considered to be from my style of work. It’s Ray’s piece and I wanted it to remain that way as much as possible.
The Ray Key Collaboration Auction