Graham Brislane brings his lifelong love of woodturning and demonstrating to the night classes he tutors in St Tiernan's Community School in Dublin.
Graham Brislane has been the woodturning tutor in St. Tiernan’s Community School, Balally, Dublin 16, for about five years. His reaction? “I love it. I get great satisfaction in passing on knowledge.”
Woodturners in general are known for passing on their ideas and knowledge. He tries to give students a project each week, which they can finish and bring home with them. If students do not finish a project, Graham encourages them to bring the piece back the next week to complete it. As the weeks advance, the projects get progressively harder.
“It’s encouraging when a student returns for a second or third term. One student was with my predecessor, and still comes to classes each term. He doesn’t have a workshop or lathe of his own, but likes coming to classes. He makes a lot of items for use at home, such as plates, bowls and scoops. If not, he makes the project the rest of the class are making on the night.”
Graham has had an interest in woodwork from a young age, starting out making a badly shaped goblet with an electric drill and a cheap set of tools! Some years later, and undeterred by his early experiments, he bought a Record CL1 36” Lathe. “I made enquiries and got some lessons from a member of the Irish Woodturners’ Guild (IWG) and, in no time, I was turning away.”
A member of the Dublin Chapter of the IWG, Graham benefits from the IWG-organised demonstrations and competitions. There are about 20 IWG chapters around the country now, and an annual seminar with foreign demonstrators from as far away as Europe, the US and Australia.
Graham’s first ventures into demonstrating were in a primary school, where his wife works. Each year, he talked to pupils about the different types of wood from around the world, showing them samples of what can be made, and demonstrating how to make a small item. They loved seeing things like spinning tops being made, and would queue up to make it spin!
A number of our other schools also run Woodturning courses.