Wood Turning
Brief historic
Formerly a "wood turner" was a polyvalent craftsman. Mostly a poet and creative, his trade often developed around a regional activity (Sheffield tools handlers. Vercors table settings, or Lorraine's violin pegs).
Throughout history, he turned fashion to his advantage (ivory pearls, boxwood game parts, or serinette, a music box imitating bird songs.
In opposition to today's art turners, their production was essentially utilitarian, and often associated with other industries: cabinet making, table maker, ivory workers or layetiers (sewing kits, tobacco and glasses cases).

J.F.ESCOULEN turning

This art is not only about creating pretty items, but also about the makings of tools or any ingenious invention.
This is why the use of rare material is no secret to him. He works with horns, tortoise shell, elephant ivory, gold or rare woods. He must, of course be able to work with special tools, and understand the requirements of the orders he receives, whether it be the precision of a tool or the beauty of a unique master work.

The turning industry has come to a stop for the past 25 years, since moulded plastics, modern production and the giving up of the old way of decorating -plating, marquetry, metallic engraving-. The ban on rare material (ivory, shell, some exotic woods) came into picture. Due to automated turning, the trade is slowly becoming obsolete.

Its recent return, first in Anglo-Saxon countries, appears as an art or a hobby.

Jean Francois Escoulen

E-mail:Jean-francois Escoulen
Site AFTAB, french woodturning association: www.aftab-asso.com

He is somewhat of a renovator. As son of a turner, his training was traditional, and he chose in 1992, to work on unique pieces. With his wife's help (she was a cabinet maker), he created turned chests that were very much in demand by collectors.
He took an important part in the training of many professional turners in France.

He is the inventor of a tool, the decetralising mandrel, that allows a sculptor to make off centered threads, in fact to get away from the idea of symmetry.
He takes part in organizing the World Days of art turning.

Francois Barreau
A fantastic turner of XVIII century
His works were such ingenius works that his contemporaries suspected him to use subterfuges to create them…
A beautiful collection of his works is kept at the Musee des Arts et Métier in Paris.

Cit. Alain Mercier
L’Estampille, february 1990

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