I have had a long standing interest in working in wood as I began as a furniture maker and wooden boat builder. In recent years I have concentrated on woodturning. This art form is as frequently guided as much by the nature of the material (colour, grain, texture and figure) as by the artist’s initial design concept. There is nothing quite like the excitement of stripping away the outer layer of a block of wood to reveal the delicate internal structure of what otherwise might appear to be an ordinary piece of firewood! Unlike many other forms of woodworking, woodturning often produces a distinctly serendipitous result. Recently, I have become increasingly interested in including other natural materials especially fossils in his work.
Originally, Des was educated as a geologist in his native Ireland. After a few years in the mining industry, he joined the faculty of Douglas College where he taught Geology and Environmental Science for about 25 years. He retired over ten years ago as the Dean of Science and Technology at Douglas and has devoted his time since then to house renovation and woodturning. Although a mostly self-taught woodturner, Des has been enlightened and inspired by his exceptionally talented colleagues in the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild of which he has been a member for many years. He lives with his artist (and biologist) wife, Adrienne, in Belcarra.