Elvaston Castle Wood Festival is probably one of the best shows in the country for seeing top-class craft in action and I’m always thrilled to be invited to demonstrate there.
This year I was showing visitors how to carve fan birds. They’re still relatively unknown in the UK so I enjoy demonstrating how they’re made and turning a small block of wood into a beautiful bird. Lots of folk can’t quite believe it’s a single piece of wood made without glue so I was kept busy demonstrating through the weekend.
Part of the attraction for me is to meet or catch up with other craftspeople from around the country and watch them in action myself. The full lineup covers everything from bowl-turning to wheelwrighting but I’ll mention just two here. I had the pleasure of having Owen Jones as my neighbour. Although Owen is also based in Cumbria, we most often meet at shows and it’s always lovely to sit and chat while he weaves beautiful oak swill baskets with such skill.
A real highlight was watching John Lord flint knapping. John is a piece of real living history, working to produce stone tools in the same way as neolithic man. I loved watching the concentration on his face as he worked through a stone, turning it over and over in his rough hands to consider the best place to release another shard.