I was lucky enough to grow up on the edge of some large forests in France. I spent a lot of time in these forests fishing, climbing, building dens and tree-houses… exploring among trees has had a lifelong impact on me.
I must have been around seven or eight years old when I attempted my first solo woodwork piece. I can’t remember if it was a bird or a bat box but I do remember the half rotten scrap wood and the loose fitting, sticking out nails. It was a disaster. Later on I received a Black & Decker workbench as a birthday present. At this time I was the keeper of two cockatiels and I wanted to make them something special: a very large double walled, insulated, dovetailed box in which they could shelter from the elements. I had almost bitten off more than I could chew, but on that little workbench I must have cut over forty dovetail joints in the yard of my parents farm. It was a leap forward from the first bat box and I finished it. It was solid, weathertight and my cockatiels found romance in it. In my mid teens my family moved to a farmhouse on the edge of Dartmoor and one day my dad and I set about converting one of the outbuildings into what would be, for a very short while, my bedroom. On the end wall of this white room, around a central window I built a large desk and shelves out of Douglas fir felled on the property of the neighbouring manor house. I also built two wardrobes in this room during the summer holidays before I started my A’levels.
These are a couple of the many snapshots I recall of some of the seeds sown in woodwork. My dad loves wood and has spent his life rebuilding old buildings that were occasionally crumbling back into the earth from which they came. I have been inspired to watch the soul that goes into something that we can value and I hope I can pass this on.
I have gained a deep understanding of trees and wood with a BSc in biology and being a fully qualified arborist I also have experience in growing, felling and the milling of timber. I have continued my passion for woodwork through study, commissions and as a pastime.
I am currently fascinated by Japanese carpentry, the reading list is running out...