Ever since I first saw these fan birds, I’ve been itching to try making them but other projects always seem to have got in the way. Made amazingly from a single piece of wood, fan birds originated in Russia and were a traditional gift symbolising happiness and good health. In the UK, Sean Hellman, a friend of mine from Devon, is the leading fan bird carver and has done a huge amount of work to share the skills as well as making beautiful birds. Seeing Sean at the Bodger’s Ball the other week spurred me into action and at the weekend I carved out a little bird from a piece of Herefordshire ash. Made with just a coping saw and opinel knife, this was a perfect project for my current tool-impoverished situation. I will definitely be making more of them.