A few weeks ago, a friend of ours started a thread on Facebook, inviting any friends of hers who are involved in arts and crafts, to share an image and a word about their craft. I joined in with a recent picture of a copper-bound pot. The thread was soon joined by a spoon-carver and woodland craftsman, by the name of Neil Hopkins, who his woodland craft business, called Forge Ways, based near Machynlleth. Neil conducts courses in bushcraft and spoon-carving, and for some time I’d been looking for a craftsman of this sort to organise a skill-swap with, the idea being that we could each provide a training session for the other, so that we could each develop a new skill.

Fortunately, Neil responded with as much enthusiasm  as I had first expressed and before you knew it, we had a new supplier for the shop at Pren, when Neil agreed to make a batch of wooden spoons for us. It took a while to organise a suitable date for delivery, as it really didn’t justify a special trip to Bala for Neil, so the new stock arrived on Friday and will be ready when we reopen, next Thursday.

I say “reopen” because we’ve taken a few days off and are currently on Anglesey with the dogs. As a pure coincidence, not only have we just taken delivery of our first example of woodland craft, but also, there is a woodland craft festival just a few miles from the campsite that we’re staying at, so we packed the dogs into the car and made our way there this morning.

The festival was in the woodland grounds of Plas Newydd, on the banks of the Menai Strait, a perfect setting for such an event. It was great to see so many people practising a field of woodcraft that I have very little knowledge of; a real eye-opener. A further coincidence was that one of the first people who we met there was Neil, with his family….this was clearly meant to be!


2 Comments

Lisa · October 3, 2018 at 6:09 am

How interesting. I love reading that there is still interest in the way things used to be done, there is much to be learnt by looking at the past. So many people today never experience the wonder and satisfaction of turning a raw material into a usable item. The skill swap is a wonderful idea……I will be interested to know how you get on…..you are so used to extreme precision and fine detail. Wood carving is a totally different area.

    Les · October 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Hi Lisa….I’m frequently asked about carved spoons, so maybe this will be a way in to that craft….can’t wait (and Sal wants the first spoon, plus a coffee scoop!)

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