This blog is a little more personal for those who may be interested in getting to know me.
My grandfather was a cabinetmaker of some repute and certainly a lot of skill. Sadly he died when I was 12, and well before I grew to love woodworking. I guess some things however took deeper root before he left us.
I was born in Rhodesia in 1958 and Rhodesia which later became Zimbabwe certainly takes some responsibility in my love of all things in nature. I am always drawn to the outside without exception and am deeply appreciative of little natural things and natural events. One of my many other loves is photography, and especially that of little stuff.
I lived and worked on a tea estate for most of my life and what a great place for my children to grow up. During my early years there I purchased a woodworking lathe and with no experience or tuition I started turning things for our house. Sometimes this was much to the exasperation of my wife as I would excitedly bring in my next item while dragging in wood-shavings all through the house.
Folk started admiring some of my work and I began to make pieces as gifts and that grew quite quickly until I felt the need to start selling some items. The next step was, I really needed a bandsaw to help all the other preparation in getting wood ready for the lathe.
All the while I was holding a full time job and being kept busy with the usual delights that two young children bring to your home. The woodwork grew and grew and in a few short years I had 16 machines and 3 full time carpenters all working from our home. We made everything from dining-room suites to jewelry and everything in between – all of African hardwood which was extremely plentiful without cutting any tree that did not have to come down for the building of something.
It was a very happy time and we made a little money too. Everyone loved our furniture. Our children grew up and left home, married and started their own lives and families.
Things on the national front however become ever more difficult with so much corruption by the Mugabe regime. Every day that dawned seemed to bring another oppressing piece of legislation protecting himself and his cronies, and bringing economic hardships to the populace. Much of his new laws and hatred was specifically directed towards white folk and farmers. Eventually like most before us we decided to pack-up and leave the land of our birth. It was not an easy decision. We sold and gave away everything choosing to emigrate to USA. This was a long and hard journey indeed. We arrived here with two suitcases and some 4 months later 2 cubic meters of our most treasured possessions arrived.
This coming week marks our 4th year living in New hampshire and truly it does feel like home. Even though the African fire that burns within one’s soul will never be extinguished – we are happy.
I only started carving spoons here and have been much encouraged by my son who makes amazingly good knives and therefore carving tools for me. Again folk love my spoons and I have sold and exported them all over the world. It’s a very small business but very satisfying indeed. Every spoon is lovingly hand-made and unique. The interest and sales has grown this year and this Sunday I will display at my first craft fair as part of the Harrisville “Old Homes” weekend. I am sure I will learn much about this side of my craft. Presently I am employed 6 days a week as co-manager of the (pretty famous) Harrisville General Store, but who knows where my carving will take me. I am finding it hard to squeeze out enough hours in the day to keep up with spoon-carving.
And to tell the truth I cannot wait to see the next spoon revealed everytime I take my knife to a piece of wood.
Our store featured in the visitors guide to NH 2016-17 (me on the left!)