the French association for artistic woodturning

what is woodturning

AFTAB's logo

Fabrice Micha, now  deceased, in his workshop

Woodturning technique : 

Today, all lathes are equipped with electric motors, and sometimes even electronic accessories. But the main principle remains the same, and the gesture too.
Woodturning is about a wooden piece spinning on a lathe. A shape will then be created with hand tools like gouges, bedan, scrapers ... Ancient lathes were powered by manual force, combining treadle, crank, counterweight, pole, wheels...

Short history of woodturning :

Woodturning use as been indicated as far as 1350 BC in Egypt, and is present in other Mediterranean civilizations (especially in Etruscan one).
Turning developed in continental Europe during Middle Ages in the wake of abbeys.
With cities developing, demand is raising and turning craft begins to get organized. First guilds are created. Turner job become liberated in the XVth century, and woodturning acquires its pedigree and place among art skills during French Renaissance.
Around 1830, woodturning was one the the first activity to get mechanized to produce series of chair legs, bowls, candlesticks.
Big workshops, changing a craftsman to a worker, are a serious threat to traditional activity, often complementary to agriculture.

Art trend :

In artistic woodturning, we can at least make the distinction between six different trends, from classical one stemming from European tradition, to anthropomorphism, via ode to Nature and green wood turning.