I make new furniture from dry, stable wood. I also restore beautiful things to their old beauty and strength. I also take hazel or holly and carve sticks to treasure and admire, practical, enduring, and full of grace.
Making a perfect joint by hand requires a high level of precision. The structure is part of the beauty, so why hide it? The joint is part of the design, and any decoration serves only to enhance the shape and texture of the whole. A small heart, sitting by itself, carved into a frame of beautiful wood, draws attention, not only to the heart, but to the context of the wood itself. Decoration is therefore the handmaid of function. That’s why the exposed jointing is important.
The tools are themselves works of art. They demand respect, and will reward the care given to them. I take time and give them respect. I use the sharpening stone both during and after, and use the palm of a hand to flick away the burr.
In the making there are two precious watchwords – Quality and Simplicity. The quality is in the choice of wood and the level of workmanship. Simplicity is in the structure and design. It may seem paradoxical, but there is complexity in the simplicity, in being selective in leaving and using space. I take pride in the marks of the tool on the wood. I am sparing in the use of sanding. I am patient in the finishing :- linseed oil – leave- rub with a cloth, then repeat two or three times. The result is not a high polish, but a deep luminous glow, and the single carved image is enhanced by the space around it.
I am concerned for the unseen as much as for the seen, even those areas which will be against a wall. The designer Hubert Simpson once said “God can see it”. Whether He can see it or not, I, the maker, can, and it has to be right.