Category Archives: Uncategorised

Mr Ainsworth’s Odyssey

Over the last few months there has been a veritable procession of photographers & film makers visiting the studio, hoping to capture something tangible among the woodchips.
These beautiful pictures were taken by Barry Ainswoth as part of an ever lengthening journey he is undertaking around the country, recording small, creative workspaces: Documenting forgotten, endangered or marginalised skills, crafts and makers.
It’s strange to be on the receiving end of this kind of attention (we used to make films for other people) getting this other view is so valuable, lets us step back and pretend it’s someone else, to think ‘that looks fun’.
Using only natural light, it’s wonderful to see the studio in a totally different way, shifted sideways, reversed and reflected back – it looks better than real – more like the dreamings we had before moving in… It’s also amazing to look back at how much has already changed since these pictures were taken & how much more there is to do! Reminds us why our backs are aching.
See more of Barry’s work here

Chasing After Mastery

Just taking time to remember another beautiful weekend carving spoons with a keen cohort of fresh whittlers.

We so love witnessing the way people’s appreciation of their own abilities shifts and changes over the day: Invariably when folk pause for a moment, look up from intense concentration and realise that somehow a curved, smooth spoon shaped object has emerged butterfly-like out of it’s rough branch cocoon, there’s a kind of disbelief, sometimes an audible yelp of delight and surprise!

These moments happen over and over, each time a deeper feeling that we are capable of more than we know, that skill creeps up and pounces on us, but we have to chase after mastery.

A Radical Act

Once the din of axes had subsided, surrounded by fresh heaps of wood chips, the sound of birdsong and the quiet curling of fine shavings from the knife, thoughts of the ordinary world were mere memory & talk turned philosophical…

The simple contentment that comes from slowing down and making something functional, beautiful & tactile, with your own hands, moving towards mastery of unfamiliar tools (and autonomy & responsibility in life), working with living material… Creating a unique object, made to last: Carving a spoon is a radical act.

Doing all this in such good company, held by this beautiful land: Positively revolutionary!

Re-wilding

Last week saw us visiting Gresley woods down in Derbyshire, a lovely young woodland, slowly healing the scar of an open cast coal mine.

The site is brimming with ash, oak, birch, hazel and alder, which we used with local families to make wooden toys, while beautiful fairy houses were built in the meadow behind us.

As ever the joy is in the wild, spontaneous creativity: A whole world springs from the nimble fingers of these natural-born-makers; Pigs, dogs, mice, cars, tractors, stools, swords, giant spinning tops & snails, to name but a few…

It was joyous to witness families making together, long legs crouched in the grass, backs bent low over kneehigh workbenches, children leading the way, chalkboard sketches coming to life.