By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pic: Martin Doheny
APTLY, the word operation summed up all that was good about a launch evening at St Luke’s General Hospital.
To give all involved their due, the handing over of a display of timber beauties by the South East Woodturners’ Chapter of the Irish Woodturning Guild to our Kilkenny, Carlow Homecare Team was a wonderfully smooth operation.
A magnificent seven set of All-Ireland winning pieces, now on show in a display cabinet at St Luke’s will boost the funds of Homecare, a superb service that is to our community what timber is to woodturners and their first cousins woodcarvers.
A dictionary describes the word operation as the process of making parts of a machine or system work together.
That, to a tee, sums up an array of timber magic that is now the wooden heart of our local hospital and it also reminds of the brilliant way that teams of nurses and doctors gel together to bring comfort to local families at tough times.
Everything on show, wooden boxes, Bramley Apples, a breakfast tray, a spinning wheel, traction engine and cement lorry, is made from wood, wheels et al.
Hurling boss Brian Cody who officially launched the display will have learned that while hurleys are made from ash, truck wheels can also be honed from the same timber.
The gift from the woodturners to Homecare is exquisite, awesome too.
It is out of this world.
For instance a wooden hotel breakfast tray comes complete with teapot, cups, saucers, plates, spoons, knives and forks, cereal bowl, cereal and orange juice, all made from wood.
A wheel of fortune for our Homecare Team
And, wait for it, the sausages, rashers, eggs, puddings, mushrooms, toast and toast rack are also hewn from wood by master craftsmen who take pride in the title woodturners.
Then there are 36 cylindrical wooden boxes which all fit into the largest box, 10 inches high and 5 in diameter.
Four of the lightest Bramley Applies, made in two pieces, are hollowed out and then matched together as one round apple with a combined feather weight of 3.067 ounces,
A wooden spinning wheel can be used for spinning wool while a traction engine is also the product of talented men and women who used a wood lathe and hand-held tools.
To round off what is hoped will be a wheel of fortune for Homecare there is a full sized 1946 Raleigh man’s bicycle and a cement lorry which is a one tenth size replica of a Volvo Cement Lorry.
All items were presented tby the South East Chapter of Woodturners whose members come from Carlow, Wexford, Tipperary and Kilkenny.
The chapter holds meetings on the third Saturday of every month from 2pm to 4.30pm in the community hall in Bennettsbridge where local and invited demonstrators show their skill on the lathe. New faces of all ages are welcomed to the group that now boasts 40 members.
HSE Arts’ Officer Edelle Nowlan welcomed guests to the launch.
Ciaran McCarthy, chair of the South East Woodturners gave the history of woodturning chapters, particularly the local guild and thanked his chapter members for their contributions.
Pat Shortall, assistant manager St Luke’s thanked the woodturners for their brilliant pieces.
Dr Ian Wilson, founder of the Homecare Team 30 years ago thanked all involved in the making of the pieces and everyone who helped to arrange the exhibition.
Dave Hogan spoke on behalf of the maintenance department in the hospital, particularly the carpentry section that arranged the display cabinet and shelving.
He thanked maintenance staff retired member Liam Kirwan who helped to co-ordinate the woodurners, hospital and arts’ office.
Brian Cody referred to the quality and precision that went into the making of the display pieces and compared that to the standard and dedication that went into his speciality of hurling.
Visitors to the hospital can pay tribute to superb workmanship and contribute to the Herculean work of the Homecare Team by helping to fill the donation box in the display case.
And they can spend time marveling at what has been achieved by artisans who work wonders with beech, elm, ash and fruit woods like apple and cherry.