I’ve taught woodcarving and woodworking skills to groups of children and young people for many years and really enjoy seeing them learning the practical skills involved, so that they can use the tools in a safe and efficient way.
Previous groups have included youth clubs, schools, young people with learning difficulties and groups who were having problems at school as well as passing children in parks and festivals. Pretty much all possible kinds of young learner!
I also hold an enhanced DBS check, as well as being a trained forest school leader.
Previous commissions have also included cutting up pieces of a beloved oak tree that had to be felled at Braishfield primary school in Hampshire, then teaching the pupils and staff to carve their own artworks to take home using the timber.
I also spent four and a half years working with disengaged young people and groups with learning difficulties at the Boiling Wells nature reserve run by St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol. We covered a huge range of skills, ranging from firelighting and traditional woodcarving to designing and building new structures on site.
I have over twenty two years of carving experience and have been teaching woodworking classes to people of all ages for over ten of them. It feels great to share my passion for and knowledge of the subject with others. I have experience in teaching not only woodcarving, but also the specialist skills needed to work with unseasoned ‘green’ wood as well as more general carpentry and joinery techniques.
The picture above shows one of several green woodworking courses that I ran at Boiling Wells in Bristol, in partnership with St Werburghs City farm and with funding from the Radcliffe Trust.
Nowadys, I often teach one-off days rather than courses, for groups of six to eight people at a time. Learners will be taught so much in the day that it is frequently enough!
Unlike some other tutors, I don’t just teach what is needed to make a particular object. Instead, lessons focus on what tools to buy, where to get them, how to use them safely and efficiently and how to keep them sharp, if necessary. That way, if a student wants to continue after the session, they have all the knowledge and skills to do so in whichever direction they choose. Get in touch if you’d like more information.
I’ve carved signs for schools and community groups all over the country. Most are made from oak but if you would like to use another kind of timber, I’d be more than happy to advise on its suitability for whatever purpose you have in mind. I also have the relevant checks in place to come and install it, if you wish.
Signs can be finished with wax (if destined to be installed indoors), varnish or finishing oils. I can tell you more about the best one to use for a particular project when you contact me. For more information, please feel free to get in touch.
This character was carved as part of a project in Bristol, working with a professional storyteller and a local school to create wooden panels that form a storytelling trail through the school grounds.
In July 2015, I was invited to carve oak pictures as part of a project at St Chad’s primary school in Patchway, Bristol. The school was looking to get the pupils to generate their own stories.
Storyteller Martin Maudsley worked with them to create tales which were then told to me. I used the five stories to produce images that were then carved into oak plaques, which were set onto larch plinths in a small woodland in the school grounds.
One plaque tells a story about a storytelling dragon that befriends a village. At first, the villagers are advised by a little girl to turn their backs, to stop them being frightened by the dragon.
Another shows a person who is helped by birds to plant a magic garden. The small squares are caps of oak covering the stainless steel screws that hold the plaques firmly onto the larch plinths.
This story is about a secret garden hidden by ancient trees, which is uncovered by reciting the magic words.
This plaque shows an old elf called the ‘Father of the Forest’. The surrounding leaves are all from trees that grow in the small woodland that the trail winds through.
Finally there is a story about St Chad (a Saxon boy) and the people he meets on his adventures.
I also made some benches from durable larch timber, for children to sit on and make up their own stories (or just play!)
Part of the project also involved carving a panel live at Patchway community festival in Bristol, which was a lot of fun and meant that I also got to meet some of the parents whose children go to St Chads.