It’s not everyday that we are lucky enough to come across a film documenting a maker perfecting their craft, but today I’m excited to highlight the work of woodturner and artisan Robin Wood who is based in Peak District, England. Robin is in fact quite a specialist individual, according to his word he is the only soul in England left turning wood in this traditional way. Unlike other woodturners he uses a manual system of pulleys and levers controlled by a foot pedal to create the desired bowl shape, a style of creating that he explains hasn’t been used since 1958 when George Lailey passed away as the last person to make a living turning this way, that is before Robin took up the craft. Previously he had been working in woodland conservation and after taking a casual interest in the art he decided that if nobody else was going to revive this technique then he would have to take on the task himself.
The first step for him to achieve this goal was to learn the blacksmithing skills that this style of woodturning requires, as all these specialised tools are handmade by the turner. I was amazed to hear that if Robin ever needs a tool whilst turning he simply stops and goes and creates this himself, as these bowls are only ever touched by a tool and no sanding is needed. Aside from creating bowls in this way Robin also handcrafts wooden spoons which is something we’ve been attempting to perfect in the office here when we have a spare moment. Unbeknown to us we’d been learning off other videos Mr Wood had put together already. Connecting the dots this morning when finding this film was great, it’s refreshing to see others had made the effort to put together a more polished account of Robin and his craft – stories like these need to be shared.
I trust many of you will appreciate how important it is that we have individuals like Robin to continue on these traditions that are ingrained in our history. I really do hope that Robin gets the plaudits and support he deserves as it’s rare in this day and age that people see an issue and act upon this themselves. If you’d like to get involved in this type of craft yourself I’d recommend making a visit to Robin’s webpage where he offers further information on a number of courses he runs. I’ll leave the link for this just below, in the meantime I’ll leave you all to press play and enjoy.