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A new turning point for Dean

Posted on: 6th April 2017

30-year-old Dean Hutton started wood turning about a year ago. A keen photographer, he was looking for a new hobby for bad weather days.

“It started with going to the Second Chance Headway centre in Wakefield,” says Dean. “They do things like cooking, music and art - and I decided to try out wood turning. I learnt a lot there and it keeps me busy. I’ve been going to a club in Mirfield twice a week and have started doing it at home too.”

“Dean started turning pens originally and then moved on to the bigger items,” says Arron Gledhill, one of Dean’s support workers. “He bought his own lathe so he could do it at home and he’s not stopped since. He made a few of the pots and bowls you can see here at Second Chance and the club in Mirfield but most of them have been made at home in the last 6 weeks.”

Dean's hand made pens Dean's hand made bowls


“He’s got all his protective gear - a helmet with an air filtration system, gloves and a smock,” says Arron. “His support workers help with lifting, make sure he’s safe and encourage him to take breaks, as he can get fatigued - once he gets started, he likes to keep going and get it finished.”

“I like to start in the morning and I can get it finished in the afternoon,” says Dean, “so they need to remind me to stop for dinner at midday.”

Dean was assaulted about 8 years ago, leaving him with a brain injury. “I thought everything was fine at the time,” he says. “I just got straight back up, went to bed and got up the next morning. I ended up in hospital for about 7 months and then in rehab for a couple of months.”

“Dean has progressed a lot since we started working with him at the end of 2015,” says Jill Harris, case manager. “He’s really benefitted from having consistent support from his privately recruited team of support workers, who give him the structure and prompting that he needs, and support him to do all the activities he enjoys.”

Arron says, “We’re trying to promote his independence - Dean wants to reduce his support. He gets about 10 hours a day support - it was 7 days a week but we dropped every other Sunday about a month ago and, if that goes well, we may reduce this further.”

Dean tells us about the process of making his pots and bowls:

“I take a block of wood and use the lathe to make the shape. Some of the more basic ones I can make in a couple of hours. Some of them have different sections of wood, which you have to glue together and leave overnight to set. After that I’ll sand it down and finish it with polish. There are different polishes for different uses - if it’s a fruit bowl or anything else for food, you have to use a polish that’s safe for that.

“I don’t normally know how it’s going to turn out. I’ll sketch out some ideas but it doesn’t always work out like that - sometimes I’ll just turn and whatever comes out comes out. I try to do something different every time.

“I like to experiment - like with a bowl I’ve just made, which has Milliput (an epoxy putty) inserted into a line that I carved round the outside. I had to leave it to harden overnight and then I put it back on the lathe to scrape the excess off and make it smooth.

“My favourite one - the one I’m most proud of - is made from 4 pieces of wood glued together, with all the grain matching up. Some people have thought it’s 1 piece of wood.”

Dean proud of his work

Arron says, “To see the process of Dean taking a block of wood and turning it into one of these amazing things is great. We should start taking photos to show the before and after - if you saw the original piece of wood you’d never think you could turn it into something like this.

“It’s been a good outlet for him. Photography was a big part of his life but he couldn’t get out to do it much over the winter because of the bad weather. Since he got his lathe, he’s been very busy, as you can see. His dad is very proud of him and even wants to start doing it himself.”

“Dean is a very gifted young man,” says Jill, “and he’s magic to work with.”

Dean hopes to start selling his creations in the near future. We think they’re brilliant and look forward to hearing how he gets on.