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Dennis Hales

Dennis works with locally grown sycamore, holly, ash and maple. The white woods offer a natural canvas on which to incorporate a wide range of finishing techniques. Turned, carved, textured surfaces finished with water soluble dyes and metal leaf are used to enhance the natural features of the wood whilst achieving a sympathetic balance of form and finish. His work includes fruit displays, Sycamore bowls embellished with silver leaf and wall plates of ash and copper.

Dennis B.C. (Before craft):

The son of a Norfolk farmer, early influences a love of nature with politically incorrect hobbies in the early sixties of egg collecting and taming a magpie. The first workshop was a converted garden shed. The enjoyment of working with wood was only surpassed by my love of food. Management training in "hotel operations" followed formal training as a chef. Woodwork went on to "the back burner", the workshop became part of management therapy in the form of woodturning started some 30 years since.

The introduction of colour came in the form of a croquet set for the children. I had made the balls of elm and set about colouring them. At the time I was also making petit four including a range of marzipan fruits "and the rest is history". The history included a fifteen-year development period of blending natural and aniline water-soluble dyes to create the colour range and application techniques to arrest the colours, which I liken to producing a watercolour image on blotting paper.

The turning point for a fulltime career came after being invited as guest exhibitor with the Suffolk Craft Society. With the support of my family and a growing demand for the work I gave up the "day job" some ten years ago. Exhibitions at local and national level have followed with sales to galleries and private collectors.