Walker’s Woodturning is a family run woodwork business, based in the Manawatu, and run by husband and wife team Mike and Helen Walker. Mike is a skilled craftsman, and makes woodturned items of all shapes and sizes, from purely artistic to everyday functional. When she’s not keeping Mike in line, Helen enjoys making a range of cold processed soaps and balms for sale at local markets and online.
Born and bred on a sheep and beef farm in the King Country, Mike’s passion for woodturning began with many childhood hours spent turning with his grandfather. Mike is strongly influenced by his agricultural background, but draws his inspiration for turning from all aspects of life around him. Nature itself is never short on ideas – the hills, rivers, patterns in the sand at the beach, shells, leaves, tree bark textures, the way the light catches different objects and the vast range of colours.
When Mike started turning his philosophy was all about using the imperfections in timber to showcase the work. Just because something has imperfections doesn’t mean that it cannot be a beautiful piece of art. He’s excited that he is the first person to see the grain and the secrets that the timber has to share.
The other driving force behind his work is the challenge of being able to turn objects on the lathe in such a way that when people look at them they wonder how it was turned in the first place. If he can envisage it in his mind he wants to create it on the lathe.
Mike puts himself into every piece he creates, so a piece of him leaves with every piece that he sells. Mike believes if he can make someone fall in love with a piece he’s created then he is doing his job as an artist.
Media you/your group work with
Wood, soap and balms