Woodturning – a decorated bowl or vessel with Mark Hancock

Wood, carving and turning

Ref: S3D11845

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About this course

Turn a bowl or vessel and then unleash your imagination to decorate it with a variety of surface embellishment techniques including incising, carving, texturing, gilding, colouring and finishings. Suitable for those new to turning and those looking to refine their skills.

Course Description

Learn all the skills necessary for turning a bowl or vessel from conversion of a log to a finished piece. Unleash your imagination to decorate your bowl or vessel in your own unique style under the guidance of the tutor. The tutor will discuss surface embellishment techniques including incising, carving, texturing, gilding, colouring and finishing.

During the course, the tutor will cover the safe use of tools and working practices. There will be a discussion on conversion of a log to a finished piece, tool selection and sharpening, and you will develop an understanding of the material you are working with (timber), grain orientation on the lathe, what leads to good and bad design, and finishing in this open-minded approach to woodturning.

Hand-outs and reference sources are provided during the course.

The tutor’s approach to teaching is to be as flexible as possible, and he requests you to email him in advance of the course (see below) with details of any woodturning experience you have to date, so that he can understand your needs and expectations, and tailor the course accordingly. This course will be of benefit if you are new to turning, or if you need help refining your skills.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please email the tutor two weeks in advance of the course with details of your woodturning experience to date and what you would like to achieve on the course, email this via the bookingsoffice@westdean.ac.uk.
  • Overall, boiler suit or smock to protect your clothes against wood dust and shavings. They should be close fitting around the neck and wrists.
  • Comfortable sturdy covered footwear is essential (not sandals)
  • Any seasoned or unseasoned English hardwoods (e.g. sycamore, beech, ash) around 150-250mm in diameter and 250-300mm long or bowl blanks: at least 100mm thick, 150-250mm in diameter – if you wish to bring your own.
  • Your favourite finish e.g. oil, wax etc.
  • Woodturning tools are provided at the College for students to use, however you may wish to bring any you own – especially any bowl gouges, hollowing tools, shear scrapers.
  • Dremel or similar rotary multi tool if you have one with burrs etc. for surface decoration.
  • The use of a selection of hollowing tools and surface embellishment tools will be made available by the tutor.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of timber blanks (cost around £8.50 each)
  • Finishing Oil
  • 80, 100, 150, 180, 240 grit, cloth backed abrasive
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course the tutor will have available timber, abrasives and finishes including oil, lacquer and wax. The cost will vary depending on the timber supplied. This charge should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.


Mark Hancock

Mark Hancock, a woodturner for over 26 years, trained full time with a professional turner in 1989. He has a teaching certificate (PTLLS) along with 15 years of teaching courses in his own workshop, the USA and Europe. Mark's work can be seen in UK galleries and collections worldwide.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more

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