Woodturner Richard Shock became a member of Oxfordshire Craft Guild in 2003 mainly uses British native woods, increasingly from local sources. He left his job in 2005 to become a full time turner and after was accepted on the Register of Professional Turners, under the auspices of Worshipful Company of Turners. He was also accepted as a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and of the Oxforshire Craft Guild. We caught up with Richard to find out more about his work, ambitions and interests.
If you weren’t a designer-maker, what would you be right now?
I would just be a retired chemical engineer probably doing some consultancy and probably making more money than I am now but having less fun.
When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
When I took up woodturning as a hobby at the age of 50 and quickly realised that being a designer-maker was becoming an obsession.
Describe your work in three words.
Simple, dramatic striking (These are taken from unsolicited testimonials).
Are there any other designers whose work you admire, and why?
In my own field Les Thorne for his innovation and infective enthusiasm, Gary Rance for his skill at spindle turning, and Joey Richardson for the beauty of her creations. Among other media Kyosun Jung (for whom I have made supporting work) for her skill as a silversmith, Andrew Hazelden for his beautifully decorated ceramics, and almost anyone who works in glass.
What do you do in your free time?
Turning has become such an obsession that I don’t have much spare time but I read a lot of history and my wife and I like to travel (a relic of my last employment, in international climate change issues).
What’s one thing you like to do everyday without fail?
Apart form turning a bowl, make contact with my new grandson.
What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
Sales of my work in galleries – it’s not the money (in fact with the gallery commission, which I do not begrudge, I get less than from a direct sale) but the fact that a stranger, who does not know who I am, has fallen for my work among all the other work on sale.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
Look at the work of makers in other media.
What’s the best gift you have ever received?
A good education.
What is your favourite quote?
“Never in the field of human conflict …”
What is in your bucket list?
There are plenty of places where we have not been (See 5 above) especially in South America.
What is the best piece you have bought and from whom?
A glass bowl that we bought years ago at an Affordable Art Fair. I am kicking myself for passing on the chance to buy one of the last pieces made by the late, great turner Bert Marsh.
Photo Credit: Agness Lukovska