My work rarely stays the same. It all started with making driftwood furniture while living in Shetland, then experimenting with computer aided wood carvings, and now I’m also learning some new green wood working skills, too.
Recently I’ve been making carved maps, particularly of islands. Maps have always been a fascination and turning them into pieces of craft is great fun.
I thrive on exploring what is possible with materials, especially within the realm of low impact, re-used and re-purposed wood. Although I can’t use this approach with carved maps, for every other piece I’ll always start with seeing what material can be found locally, then work from there.
I’m all about the process really. Specifically the challenge of the process. A lot of my work is pretty unique and different from anything else out there. There’s a reason for that I guess; the time and thought invested in a single design can’t really be approached from a business point of view. So I don’t.
This route can be slower, for example making my first workshop from reclaimed materials for under £1000 took over a year to complete. And buying a kit cnc router delivered in 700 pieces took several months to produce something not destined for the woodburner.
Even if undertaking a fairly “standard” project like a shed or bench, I’ll always be looking to try new methods to improve on the ‘quick and cheap’ processes that are used so much these days in building and carpentry.
I started making stuff in Shetland. Not the best place to get wood from, but the supply of driftwood was amazing!
Now my wife and I have moved to a little community called Skerray on the north coast of Scotland. The coastline, mountains and wilderness are really inspirational and will no doubt lead to many new designs and ideas.
We are here to manage a croft, a small piece of land where we will grow our food, fuel and also much of the timber I will need for my woodwork and carpentry.
We now have a small croft planted with a few acres of mixed trees. We’re planting more and my aim is to be pretty much self sufficient in the wood I use for my craft work.
To that extent I am now committing to plant a tree for every product I sell, no matter how small!
I try to be low impact in my work. Any new wood I buy I get as locally as possible and from environmentally sound resources, and I finish my work in all-natural stains and oils. I tend not to package my work more than needed, but when I do, it’s using recycled materials.