I’d like to kick-start this blog with an introduction, but didn’t feel like a CV or mission statement, so here are 7 things about me:
1. I’m strongly attracted to bodies of water
As soon as I sight waves I’m off, making a beeline for the breakers. On hot days it’s shoes off and feet in, even if I wasn’t planning on it. The compulsion is less strong in fresh water, but I have paddled in some wonderfully icy glacier lakes.
2. My hands are always busy
I make things! A lot! Often in situations where it’s not expected, like standing on a crowded commuter train or at a wedding reception. It’s started some lovely conversations, and seeded lasting friendships.
I might work in wax, silver or perspex for the ‘day job’, but I always have myriad other projects on the go. I especially enjoy making things in the midst of a sociable evening of conversation. At home I might pick up anything from sewing to wood carving, but my current travel projects are making iron chainmail, and folding strips of paper into tiny puffy stars!
3. I’m a craft enabler
Would you like to try knitting? Lino-cuts? Inlay? Bookmaking? Spoon carving? Wax casting? Let me know, I will be enthusiastic with you! If I’ve tried it I can usually help you get started, and if I haven’t, I’ll probably be right there with you giving it a go. I can recommend a really good place to try blacksmithing…
4. My first medium was wood
I’ve had the busy-hands thing for as long as I can remember, but the first medium I remember loving was when I started carving wood. I whittled away at driftwood or scraps from the wood store as a teen, sitting in the brightest spot in the house – on the floor next to the glass kitchen door – in a steadily growing mountain of wood shavings.
I have a few small pieces I made in that era, and I’m still proud of the form and finish I achieved. Mostly they’re made from yew harvested from a feral hedge. Yew is very beautiful and takes a lovely polish, but it’s incredibly hard (especially once it’s seasoned), and it has long, stubborn fibres that laugh at blunt knives. I think I gained a lot of hand strength wrestling with it, and learned a lot of patience with splitting and tearing grain, and about working with your material.
It was really good experience, and taught me a lot about wood as a medium, but most of all it made me really, truly appreciate how straightforward wax is to carve!
That’s it for now, hope you enjoyed!