baker and swineherd
Having travelled the world for a couple of years in my late twenties, fleeing the joys of computer programming and Thatcher's Britain, I decided to try my hand at something practical, something real, and I asked my uncle, John Brown, if I could move to Pantry Fields and be his apprentice. I had no idea where it would lead or if I was up to it, I had no experience of woodworking at all. He said yes, and I ended up making 'Welsh stick chairs' with John for a couple of years. Having no electricity meant no power tools or machines save for a belt driven bandsaw run from the PTO of a tractor. It was a steep learning curve and I loved it. A simple way of life in a beautiful place, making functional chairs of rare beauty. I still live in the same place but have succumbed to the delights of a modest electricity bill, albeit offset by solar generation, and do now use a small amount of machinery for timber preparation, but, I remain true to my principles of producing hand-made, honest craft.
John Brown was a major influence on my woodworking alongside makers such as James Krenov, Alan Peters and the Arts and Craft Movement greats Ernest Gimson and Edward Barnsley, the Shaker ethos also taught me a thing or two. Anyone receiving the John Brown 'morning lecture' for a few years couldn't ignore his persuasive philosophy.
I make cabinets, chests, boxes, chairs and stools from indigenous hardwoods sourced from Wales and the borders. I cut every joint by hand and try to make every part from hinge to door catch.
I am not a prolific maker and enjoy our other enterprises; our publishing exploits with Carningli Press, our productive garden and our animals. I bake lots of sourdough bread and brew beer, an old tradition in this valley. I am married to Annie, John and Sally Seymour's daughter. We have brought up three wonderful children Badger, Molly and Owen, although they are not children anymore.