IRAN ART EXHIBITION: INTRODUCING ART OF WOODTURNING AND ITS TECHNIQUES
Woodturning is a kind of Iran’s handicraft n which by various tools, some wooden things have been made.
This art, which is a kind of woodwork, is commonly used in parts of the country where wood is found there. Woodturning is a method of making wood products, in which, by various tools, and mainly by a traditional or electric cord, a wooden cylinder is rolled round, while at the same time it removes the wood from the cavern to form the desired shape.
The main wood used in the crop include walnut, elm, alder, ash, mustard, sycamore, whitewood, pear, jujube and kicks. Products made with traditional cutters can be found in various types of sofas, beds, tables and chairs, roller coasters, spinning wheels and spindles, straws and hookah bodies.
The various natures of wood define the technique of woodturning. The grain of the wood will change the orientation relative to the axis and the types of tools and techniques needed. However, the grain is always perpendicular to the direction of rotation.
There are several other factors which will affect woodturning, such as moisture and the character of the wood. So, what is woodturning, where did it originate, and what are the techniques available?
What is woodturning?
Woodturning is the process of using tools to cut and mould shapes onto wood while it turns on an axis of rotation. It usually uses a tool called a wood lathe which performs operations such as sanding, cutting, knurling, facing, turning, drilling and deformation. The worker operating the machine is known as a turner, and the craft is traditionally referred to as turnery.
IRAN ART EXHIBITION: Through woodturning, it is possible to make items such as candlesticks, lamps, rolling pins, egg cups, chess pieces, or any wooden piece moulded into a form. Even though industrial production has replaced much of the production of these items, the wood lathe and turnery is still relevant in the bespoke making of items. Whether this is a hobby or means of employment, woodturning can save time and money, it is also a fun and satisfying art.
The history of woodturning
What we know about the historic craft of woodturning is limited because of the nature of wood, with its fibres prone to rotting. Early lathe workers would use their bare feet to hold the cutting tools in place while using their hands to power the lathe.
Our first knowledge of bowls and cups being made through woodturning date from between 500 and 1500 AD.
Techniques of woodturning
With an understanding of some basic woodturning techniques and the correct equipment, it is possible to produce anything from traditional wooden items to avant-garde creations.
Spindle turning: This is the most common and basic technique in wood turning, and is the simple process of turning the spindle once mounting the wood between the head and tailstock of the lathe. There are several types of spindles that can be used, chosen according to individual applications.
Decorative spindle turning: This differs to normal spindle turning as it includes roughing, sizing and smoothing stocks of wood. This process needs a more elaborate form of cutting which can make more intricate grooves as well as curves and shapes.
Segmented turning: This turning method involved several pieces of wood taken together to form a wood blank. Every segment of the wood is glued together before turning. The segmented turning process can create some of the most exciting formations and patterns.
Faceplate turning: This single fluid technique differs to spindle turning and allows much more freedom. A faceplate is a circular metal plate which fixes onto the end of the lathe and can help to hold and save time.
Bowl turning: An experienced turner can use a bowl gouge to get the required result. This technique requires a gouge bevel held on a wood blank and transformed into a bowl shape. With the help of scraping tools, it is possible to create the perfect bowl.
Alternative techniques include; eccentric turning, therming, green turning, ornamental and more.
IRAN ART EXHIBITION: Woodturning is one of the Iranian traditional handicrafts in which wood is formed into different symmetric shapes by curving through the circular movement of the Woodturning machine.
The woodturners in Khuzestan, a southwestern province of Iran, use some specific types of wood- including Ziziphus, Platanus, Citrus aurantium, Prunus armeniaca, and Dalbergia Sissoo- to produce woodcrafts.
Abdurahim Foroutan is one of the most experienced masters of woodturning in Dezfoul, a city in Khuzestan Province, who has kept this art alive, inherited from his ancestors.
“You can trace the origins of woodturning back to the time of Sassanian Empire and you can see signs of woodwork in Persepolis (The ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran),” said Foroutan in an exclusive interview with Iran Press.
He added: “Some historians believe that woodturning first appeared in Khuzestan province.”
Foroutan’s masterpieces in woodturning have been noted and registered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Great efforts paid off in a northeastern Iranian village where local crafters have succeeded in reviving traditional skills of woodturning, which were once on the verge of oblivion.
“For thousands of years the art of woodturning has been popular in Torbat-e Heydarieh, but it had fallen into neglect in recent years,” tourism chief of the village, Ali Mohammadi said on Wednesday.
However, the forgotten handicraft has been brought back to life with a great deal of effort made by a young artisan couple, who set up a woodturning workshop in the city, the official added.
IRAN ART EXHIBITION: Their workshop currently employs some 10 crafters who export their handmade products to neighboring countries and Europe, he noted.
Woodturning refers to the act of shaping wood using horizontal wood scraping rotational machines to build products like sofa legs, bowls, plates, etc. A woodturning artist is a person who is able and skilled in regulating the woodturning machine, selecting the appropriate wood, and shaping and finishing the wood.
With 14 entries, Iran ranks first globally for the number of cities and villages registered by the World Crafts Council, as China with seven entries, Chile with four, and India with three ones come next.
The value of Iran’s handicrafts exports stood at $120 million during the first eleven months of the past Iranian calendar year 1399 (March 20, 2020 – February 18, 2021). The country’s handicrafts exports slumped during the mentioned months in comparison to the same period last a year earlier due to the damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on global trade.
The Islamic Republic exported $427 million worth of handicrafts during the first eleven months of the calendar year 1398. Of the figure, some $190 million was earned via suitcase trade (allowed for customs-free and tax-free transfer) through 20 provinces, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.
Ceramics, pottery vessels, handwoven cloths as well as personal ornamentations with precious and semi-precious gemstones are traditionally exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, the U.S., the UK, and other countries.