THE ancient art of woodturning is alive and well in a small North Yorkshire village with enthusiasts flocking there from around the UK.

Snainton Woodturning Club is home to "a very active body of people in the area with like minds", according to member and former Malton School deputy headteacher Steve Fearnley.

The club, based at Snainton Woodworking Supplies in Barker’s Lane, often sees exponents of the art travel hundreds of miles to demonstrate and share their skills.

Steve, 59, who lives in Thornton-le-Dale, is one of many locals to have been gripped by woodturning, and now sells some of his work.

He said: "Shaping wood while it rotates on a lathe is different to most forms of woodwork – it is the wood that moves while the tools stay still.

"It probably started more than 3,000 years ago in Egypt, and then the Romans took it on and developed the practice further.

"Nowadays modern technological advancements have improved the tools and the lathes beyond measure, but the art of turning continues to be practised by thousands of individuals, both as a profession and as a popular hobby."

The Snainton club has three registered professionals in Sue Harker, Phil Greenwood and Dave Lowe, who give tuition, plus a host of hobbyists like Steve.

"I have always been interested in woodwork," he explained.

"I started making trophies for school and wanted to make them a little bit classier and better quality.

"I used to see the sign for the place while driving on the Scarborough road. One day I went down to Snainton and was amazed at how much was there.

"I ended up buying a lathe. That came with free tuition and it just snowballed from there.

"That was 2009 and I have never looked back.

"The club is known nationally. People travel all the way to Snainton just to buy wood."

Snainton Woodturning Club meets on the first Thursday of every month and encourages anyone interested to pay a visit.

"You can watch as a rough lump of wood is transformed into a piece of art in a couple of hours," said Steve.

Meanwhile, Rob Thompson, of Snainton Woodworking Supplies, is offering free tuition and/or advice every Wednesday evening from 7pm to 9pm.

Steve said: "Woodturning involves: it is so much more than making bowls and turning chair legs, often the only things that spring to mind when the topic is mentioned.

"Modern woodturners incorporate colouring, texturing, carving, burning, piercing and many other techniques to enhance the natural beauty of turned wooden objects and make items of wood art."

Steve's passion for the art has only grown in retirement.

"The attraction is being able to make things that people want," he said.

"There is such skill involved. Sue Harker, for example, does involuted turning where she turns pieces of wood inside out.

"I really enjoy pyrography, which is burning onto the wood.

"One of my favourite pieces has got my granddaughter in it."

The club is holding an open day featuring leading manufacturers and demonstrations on Saturday, October 24, from 10am to 3pm.

Entry is free for this and the next club demonstration on November 5 when Sue Harker will be making Christmas decorations.

For more information phone Snainton Woodworking Supplies on 01723 859545 or visit either or