What do you do when you’re invited to give a demonstration and teach an afternoon workshop for 15 hobby woodcarvers? Earlier in the year I was asked to do just that for the Lancashire branch of the Woodcarvers Association and decided to give them something they’d never seen before.
I started the day by talking about my work including how and why I make in the way I do. Carving with an axe was an eye-opener for lots of them and I explained my preference for having fewer tools which I have mastered and how this frees me to be creative with what I make. Something we shared in common was a preference for a tool finish without sanding which gives my work a much more tactile and natural finish.
My demonstration for the morning took the group through the process of how to carve a fan bird. They guessed correctly that I would split rather than saw the feathers but were still nicely amazed to watch the wings take shape as I bent them into place.
For the afternoon workshop I had promised ‘something completely different’ and think that the session on making wooden brushes fitted the bill. The bristles for these brushes are pulled from a stick, building up into a head which is still attached to the stem and finished with a string band. After some initial good-natured frustration while they learned the technique they got on and everyone finished at least one brush with enthusiasm and plenty of banter.
A terrific, friendly bunch of people and a lovely way to spend the day. If you’re nearby and interested, visit their website for more information.