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In memory of Mike Lewis

By Ian Outshoorn on April 15th, 2012

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Mike Lewis, good friend and woodturning mate passed away this week. Mike had several arterial aneurysms, one of which ultimately proved fatal. He was only 79. I say “only”, because he was of those ageless characters who looked and acted like a much younger man.

I first met Mike at one of his demos where he freely shared his knowledge on how he made his Spinning Tops with the members of the Guild. Following that demo we spent many hours on the phone bouncing ideas off each other. I have a lot to thank Mike for when it comes to woodturning techniques and especially in the Art of Critiquing my work. Mike was fiercely competitive and successfully entered his work into many Shows, where his name featured prominently amongst the winners. Placing second last year when Mike was third in Plain Bowls gave me great pride, with Mike grudgingly conceding my bowl was ok for a beginner : ). Only last week he again tasted success at the Royal Easter Show, with a First in the Natural class, a Second in Platters (“Time Warp”, Photo above) and two Merits. “Time Warp” now proudly sits amongst my other collected pieces in my Masters Collection.

Mike was supposed to have gone with me to Turnfest 2012 but his failing health prevented air travel, much to his disgust. He would have been in heaven with the Instant Gallery and I would have loved to hear him comment on some of the new techniques on show there. I will miss our daily chats where we solved the world’s problems with humour.

Mike was cremated in a plain Pine Box (even then he could not stand the idea of nice timber going to waste), lying on a bed of shavings in his woodturning smock and Durban Congress 2004 shirt. Go in Peace my Friend, we will miss you.

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