A Windy Woodland Woodcarving Workshop
Last year we made the difficult decision to stop running our regular workshop calendar and focus on hosting private groups and bespoke events instead. But when the first signs of spring started to emerge this February, we couldn’t resist the urge to arrange a Woodland Wooodcarving Workshop coinciding with bluebell season. Our workshops have always been a way for us to share the knowledge we’ve accumulated whilst living in the woods; although running them takes a lot of time and energy, the rewarding feeling and positive feedback we get at the end of each one has got us hooked.
And so we found ourselves in the woods early in the morning on Saturday rigging up tarps and lighting the fire, surrounded by a sea of bluebells in preparation for a full day of woodcarving, outdoor skills and nature connection. In contrast to the previous the weekend, the weather was decidedly unsettled. Although the sun was shining and our patch of woodland is sheltered, a strong westerly wind swayed the tops of the trees and roared through the leaves overhead. Although mildly concerned about falling branches, we carried on regardless; the woods seem to come alive and are full of energy on blustery days and there’s no place we’d rather be.
One by one our students arrive, and following cups of cowboy coffee around the fire the workshop gets under way. Although the main objective on our woodcarving course is to carve a wooden spoon from green wood, we use this as a vehicle to teach about wood, trees and the woodland, to share outdoor tips and knowledge and to encourage a reconnection with nature by simply spending the whole day in the woods focused on one thing. Our favourite bit is usually the tree ID walk in the morning as this gives us a chance to share some of the incredible things about the woodland ecosystem we’ve discovered over the years, detailing the relationships and interactions that take place and how these things affect the wood we’re going to be working with.
We return from our walk and get to work by splitting some firewood. This activity helps our students become acquainted with the axe, gaining confidence with the tool before starting the process of making a spoon. The remainder of the day is spent hewing, carving and scooping to the sounds of leaves rustling in the canopy and the unmistakeable song of a nightingale close by.
At the close of the workshop when everyone has downed tools, we come together for a celebratory drink before bidding farewell to our students who leave us hopefully equipped with not only new skills but also a new way of seeing the natural world around them.
This weekend has reinforced to us that our place is in the woods. We see the workshops as an opportunity to not only share our knowledge but to demonstrate how a life lived closer to nature has benefitted us in ways we never expected, has challenged us, changed us and given us a story we want to continue to tell. With that in mind, we’re hoping to run another Woodland Woodcarving Workshop this autumn, to register your interest, please click here. We can also still offer privately organised and bespoke workshops for groups and individuals and more information about this can be found here.
We hope to see you in the woods sometime…