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AAW 2009 Honorary Lifetime Member: Giles Gilson
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Honorary Lifetime Members

AAW 2009 Honorary Lifetime Member: Giles Gilson (1942-2015)



Giles Gilson was a founding member of the AAW, wrote articles for American Woodturner (AW), and participated in many of the symposiums in the early years of the organization. In an article in AW, Terry Martin wrote about Giles receiving the award, “I believe he was chosen because it is time to acknowledge that for the last forty years he has been right to challenge the way things are done, to break rules, and to ignore the naysayers. There are very few in our field who should be credited with changing the way we see things, but Giles is certainly one of them.”


One of Giles’ Fiber Vases appeared in an instant gallery at an AAW symposium around 15 years ago. It seemed to be a hollow vessel, painted with some sort of textured paint. When viewers discovered that it was primarily made of fiberglass, they wondered why it was being shown in a turning exhibit. As Giles explained it, the vessel could not have been made unless he had used turning for most of the process. He first turned a hollow vessel out of wood, then after drying it, used it as the mold for laying the fiberglass over. He made four sections of the fiberglass so that they could be removed. Those four panels became the body of the vessel. The base is turned, as is the ring at the neck. Yes, it ended up being fiberglass, it but could not have been made without turning. This was typical of how Giles thought and created!

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