Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Crafting Your Future


Barry Doyle - Jeweller
Liz Christy - Textile Design/Handweaver
Jamie McCarthy-Fisher - Art Studio Manager
Terry O'Brien - Woodcarver


Glenn Lucas, Woodturner

Glen Lucas is a professional Woodturner. Following his Leaving Certificate he did some classes with professional woodturners.  He also undertook a FÁS cabinet making course.  Following a Business Skills Course which he took with the Craft Council of Ireland he set up his own workshop in 1997.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

Deciding to make a business out of my craft and applying to do a Business skills course (then, with the Crafts Council of Ireland).

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Liam O’Neill professional woodturner (Ire), Mike Mahoney (USA), buyers for major outlets who gave me feedback and ordered from me.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I set up my own workshop in 1997. I am continually upgrading the workshop and developing work and teaching programmes.

Describe a typical day?

7.30 Set up workshop for day’s work. Prepare wood for or finish work for an order or exhibition. Prepare workshop for a class – one-to-one or group. Update my website with recent press and new dates for classes. Make and return calls/emails to buyers, suppliers and potential students. Keep my machines in good working order.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Planning ahead – class dates at home and overseas, completion dates for orders. Preparation – workshop for classes, raw materials for orders, check stock of packaging, VAT returns etc Maintain machines and keep a healthy working environment in the workshop Customer service – to all my clients, buyers and students Excellence and consistent standards in production of work and teaching.

What are the main challenges?

Currently, the economic climate and planning to get through it.

What's cool?

Working from home, in the yard beside my home in the country. Being recognised for my skill – by my peers in particular

What's not so cool?

Doing my VAT returns!

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

High standards in work. Very good customer service.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Tech drawing.

What is your education to date?

Leaving Cert. Occasional classes in woodturning with Willie Stedmond. Fás cabinet making course. Crafts Council of Ireland Business skills course (no longer in operation).

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Learning from masterturners. Reading about them and watching them at demonstrations and on DVD/video. Understanding the basics of engineering helps me fix and maintain my equipment.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Getting a significant order for my work at my first trade fair in 1997. They still order from me at least twice a year. Winning awards and recognition for my work. Getting invitations to give demonstrations at the best woodturning symposia in the world and having a waiting list for my classes!

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

Self motivation. Resourcefulness.

What is your dream job?

This one! I would like to design the perfect woodturning lathe too!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Yes. I can design and make work. I also teach from my workshop at home. I am invited to demonstrate overseas regularly so keep in touch with international trends.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Get making as soon as possible. Do plenty of classes with a range of different teachers. Find your unique style and product. Get as much relevant feedback as possible and use it to the best of your ability. Make a business plan and amend and change it regularly. Get into shows and exhibitions and build up a cv.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Good communication skills – customer service, hard worker, strength – its heavy work, patience – it’s a long process from design to finished work!

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I am continually learning from master turners and learning excellence in teaching and instruction from practitioners.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Any workshop experience. Respect for machinery, care of raw materials. Working with wood and understanding how to get the best from it – in a timber yard, furniture-making workshop etc.

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