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The Mysterious Woodturner of Forse

An exhibition of work by an elusive woodturner in Forse is now on show at Thurso Art Gallery.

Rob Christie lives and works on the east coast of Caithness where he turns and carves wood from fallen trees in the woodlands around his home or jetsam found on the shores.

“Turning is the pastime of the bearded-set of post-retirement men in their sheds,” said Rob, “it’s my ambition to turn up the dial a bit and make things a bit more muscular – while reluctantly admitting to being a retired man in a shed.”

He continued: “Caithness may not seem like the ideal place for someone working in wood, but in truth, there are ample wooded areas with a diverse species list.

“There are also miles of beaches where weather-worn logs wash up, stained and altered by their voyages. So, while sourcing the raw material is not necessarily a problem, extraction may be. I also see saving interesting wood from the firewood pile as my duty as a wood worker.

“My first instinct after starting to work with wood was to make highly polished and regular pieces. Each log was shaped to remove any evidence of its ‘treeness’. I now see this enforced uniformity as somewhat tame.

“I have learned to relax and enjoy leaving evidence of the original growth, be it bark intrusions, penetrations or weather staining. As with any maker, I look to continue to change and follow ideas down whatever rabbit hole they lead.”

The exhibition is running at the Davidson’s Lane gallery until November 6

Exhibitions Officer Cathy Shankland said: “We are delighted to host Rob Christie’s beautifully turned vessels in the Thurso Gallery.

“Each piece brings the local environment into the gallery and together they show the diversity of tree species in a county which people often associate with moorland rather than woodland.”

For more information, visit www.highlifehighland.com/thurso-art-gallery