Ray Key

Ray Key BEM

‘My work embraces minimalism; my quest is to produce objects of beauty and elegant simplicity. I am a great believer of the object as a whole; not a disjointed assemblage of different ones. ‘Keep it simple stupid’ ‘let the wood speak for itself’ and ‘if in doubt leave it out’ are my design bywords’. In 2012 The Worshipful Company of Turners presented Ray their first ever ‘Master in Turning’ award and in 2015 Ray was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the craft of Wood Turning.

Ray says about his life as a woodturner “from an early age I knew wood was my medium. In 1958 I became an apprentice Pattern Maker; woodturning was part of the job. Completion of my training saw me work with fibre glass and clay, wood remained my first love and turning in particular. In 1965 my first lathe was purchased. In 1973 I turned my back on industry to become a full time turner. What has followed these past 43 years could not have been foreseen or imagined.”

“The world wide growth of turning organisations, seminars, workshops, hobby turning, equipment development etc. is unbelievable. Perhaps the most significant and important development of the ancient craft is that it is now accepted as an ‘art form’.”

“Since 1980 it has been my good fortune to have been present at many events where embryonic seeds have been sown that have impacted world turning. Parnham House hosted the first truly International Seminar in 1980, this event was truly seminal.

From this time my commitment and involvement with national and international woodturning causes has been all embracing. In retrospect it may have had a negative effect on my growth as a turner (little time to develop ideas). That said my understanding and knowledge of woodturning world wide continues, as does my development as a person. For every negative there is always a positive.


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In 1987 I became the founding Chairman of The Association of Wooturners of Great Britain (AWGB). In 1997 I was made a Life Member and appointed President in 1998.

Other honours have since come my way

2001 saw Life Membership of The American Association of Woodturners (AAW) bestowed (At this time the only none North American afforded this honour).

 2002 Saw the Freedom by Presentation of The Worshipful Company of Turners bestowed.

2011 Became a Freeman of The City of London.

2012 The Worshipful Company of Turners presented me their first ever ‘Master in Turning’ award.

2015 Awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (for services to the craft of Wood Turning).

Ray Key BEM 2016