Spotlight on Rare Skills - Dennis Hales

30 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker
Dennis Hales woodturner

We first met Dennis Hales at one of the excellent Sussex Guild craft shows last year. Dennis described himself as making a 'guest appearance', since his workshop is actually in Norfolk. However, it easy to see why his presence is eagerly sought at all manner of quality craft events across the country including exhibiting at the Worshipful Company of Turners of the City of London, of which he is a member.

Dennis works with locally grown sycamore, holly, ash and maple - particularly clean white woods which offer him a natural canvas for a wide variety of finishes. He turns, carves and textures the surfaces and then uses airbrushing, hand-painting and marbling techniques and water soluble, modern analyne dyes or traditional dyes such as Vandyke crystals to give a blend of colours and shades which enhance the natural features of the wood.

After decorating and lacquering, some of his work is then treated to elaborate and highly-skilled gilding using 24 carat gold, copper and double weight silver leaf, before being returned to the lathe for further work to achieve an intricate, iridescent patina. A further two coats of lacquer effectively encapsulates the gilding to minimise any risk of tarnishing.

As a result, this extraordinary work achieves a sympathetic balance of form and finish.

We currently have about a dozen pieces of Dennis's work.. but they are very popular, so don't leave it too long to pay us a visit.


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