John Wessels

John Wessels (South Africa)
John Wessels (South Africa) in the Daniel Collection

“My life started at the end of April 1945. After school, I went to University and completed a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. I worked in this field for six years and could not take the commuting to work and the four walls of the office. I always wanted to fly, so I took the bull by the horns, spent every penny earned on flying. This enabled me to obtain all the necessary licenses.

I was accepted in 1975 by South African Airways, and flew for them for thirty years until retirement at age sixty in 2005. Since then I decided to start wood turning as I had a fondness for Industrial Art at school from the early age of thirteen. It was also where I was introduced to a wood lathe.

At the age of ten, my mother took me with her to sheet pewter lessons, which was all the rage in the mid-fifties. The first piece I showed at the AWSA Symposium in 2006 had sheet pewter as the surface enhancement. Since then I went to a demonstration at AWGB and met Simon Hope, who introduced me to cast pewter.

In France, when demonstrating at their Symposium, Christophe Nancy did the language interpretation at some of my demonstrations. He introduced me to roof solder. A mixture of tin and lead. All this has directed me to where I am now, using sheet pewter, cast pewter, roof solder, plumbers solder wire and silver rods, to enhance my turned art.” (Information for Woodturning New Zealand International Symposium 2016)