A Tale of Two Bowls
Browsing Twitter recently our eye was caught by a photo of two beautiful wooden bowls made by Kilcock Men’s Shed. We asked Liam Farrell, secretary of the shed, to tell us how they came about. This is what he told us.
‘There is something about the texture and colour of wood that gives it almost never-ending appeal. Just planting a tree is an act that brings us close to nature and, as it grows, its presence is always there to mark the changing seasons and our life’s events. Eventually, a tree will reach its final years or perhaps blow over in a storm. Our tale of two bowls began when a laburnum tree blew down in a Dublin garden but it didn’t end there as its owner wanted something tangible to remember it by and the years of enjoyment it gave.
Peter Barry delivers kiln-dried wood fuel to households in Dublin from the family woods in Co Meath near Kilcock. When delivering to a lady in South Dublin, she asked him if he knew anyone who could make a piece of laburnum into a bowl for her. Peter had seen many of the lovely wooden artifacts that his father, a member of Kilcock Men’s Shed had brought home over the years, all products of the workshop there following courses provided by the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training board. Woodturning lathes had been purchased with the help of grants from Kildare Co Council so the Kilcock members were well equipped to make the most of the training they had received.
The piece of wood was 8×5 inches and quite small and unfortunately was also cracked in the centre which made it difficult to work with. However, Peter’s father passed it on to Tony Jones, one of Kilcock Shed’s most enthusiastic and talented woodturners and he, in turn, created the two small bowls as shown below. The unusual grain of the laburnum came through perfectly, all thanks to the skill of the turner and the quality of the wood. The original owner of the tree was of course delighted with the result. It also illustrates the value of a pastime learned in the shed environment which keeps so many of us occupied during the long days of lockdown.’