About me

I was born in Slough, Buckinghamshire (as it was then - Slough is now in Berkshire) in 1945 where I lived and grew up. I left school at 15 with no qualifications and took a job as a printer working for an agricultural organisation printing technical journals.

In 1966 I moved to Hillingdon in Middlesex and changed jobs. This time working as a printer for the in-house printing facility at The London Borough of Hillingdon. within 5 years I was the Print Manager. While at Hillingdon I became interested in computers through the use of the early computerised typesetting machines, then into PC's for controlling the workflow and pricing of all print jobs.

I met Kay through the activities of the Bassett Hound Club as we both had Basset hounds at the time. We were married in 1974.

Through my experience gained in the use of computers I was asked if I would manage a centralized typing centre. The central typing pool was dissolved and I was asked to take on the role of Assistant Civic Centre Manager which was later renamed to Facilities Management. In 1992 I was promoted to Facilities Manager when my boss retired. I did this job for 5 years when I was offered early retirement in 1997 after 37 years of service to the borough. I decided this was the time to become a professional Woodturner.

While I was working my social life was just as hectic. My hobby was woodturning which I loved. Creating  something beautiful from a shapeless lump of wood and being able to introduce an artistic approach that shows the beauty of wood in the finished piece was everything. It took away the stresses of a very demanding job and helped me to relax. I soon got into the organisational side of woodturning though.

My first introduction to woodturning was in my last year at school. It was around the early 1980's that I found the time and the opportunity to take it up again and bought my first lathe. In 1989 I joined the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB) and the Middlesex Woodturners Association (MWA) which was a local branch of the AWGB.

I was soon involved with the MWA in its organisation, first as Secretary, and then as its Chairman. In 1993 I was persuaded to become newsletter editor for the AWGB, a job I did for 7 years. In April 1997 I was elected Vice Chairman of the AWGB. In September 1998 I was accepted onto the professional register of the Worshipful Company of Turners of London. In 2000 I was elected Chairman of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain and was honoured to represent them at the International Woodturning Seminar in Northern Ireland.

In 2003/4 I began to suffer from the effects of wood dust created during the turning process and despite trying all forms of filtration systems the problem continued. This led to me giving up woodturning but kept the equipment in case I wanted to turn the odd project.
At the same time Kay's workload started to increase, as I had given up on the woodturning we decided to form a partnership to spread the load. Apart from driving her, helping out at those classes where there was a lot of travelling and assisting to give talks on stumpwork, I have been instrumental in the provision of drawings, written instructions and photography for the three books we have written and student notes.
In September of 2005 we started our company entitled KAY DENNIS STUMPWORK. Between 2005 and 2010 we sold supplies for stumpwork, kits, books, booklets and notelets by mail order.
In 2006 I realised that I was probably not ever going to turn again and disposed of all my woodturning equipment. This was replaced by professional frame making equipment to enable me to offer a specialised framing service to stumpwork embroiderers.
In 2010 I decided, having reached the grand old age of 65, that I no longer wanted to run the mail order side of the partnership and wanted to concentrate on my hobbies of gardening and photography. I still have an active role continuing the maintenance of the web site, taking photographs of Kay's work, stitch diagrams and any other computer related work. I also help Kay at classes when required and have taken the odd class by myself.
In 2011 Kay was asked by the Embroiderers' Guild to produce a series of folios on Stumpwork. We worked closely together on this project and twelve folios were completed and given to the Embroiderers' Guild in 2013. More folios are to be completed.
I was elected as Magazine editor and webmaster to the Guild of Needle Laces in 2009 and elected Chairman in 2011 mainly as an administrator, magazine editor and webmaster. In February 2013, I was talking to some needlelace beginners who described making needlelace as difficult, scary and a bit daunting. Although I have had the theory of making needlelace after some years, writing instructions for the Guild of Needle Laces and for Kay’s students I have actually never made a piece myself.

I therefore decided work a piece of needlelace for myself and try to answer some of the questions. I decided I wanted to dive straight into working a design and not go down the route of working samples beforehand.

I am now hooked. I spend most evenings working on my needlelace instead of falling asleep while watching the television and Kay shouting at me ‘why don’t you go to bed’.
My passion for needlelace has grown since then and in 2013 I taught needlelace to beginners at a workshop for the Guild of Needle Laces at their Annual General Meeting. I have also taught needlelace to many of Kay's students at classes we have attended up and down the country.

In November 2014 I decided to make a videos on how easy it is to make needlelace and that resulted in the development of this web site.