We have really mixed feelings at our home tonight; for today we completed the task of emptying our shop of every scrap of stock, of furniture, of packing materials and admin paperwork. At 5:30, when the High Street fell quiet, we took the Christmas tree down from the shop-fascia, for tomorrow, we hand back the keys and embark on what will be quite a change in our lives.

For several months, the focus of my work has been in my workshop, rather than in the shop itself. I now teach for 3 days each week and spend much of another day writing technical features for “Woodturning” magazine, so being at the shop every afternoon has become a bit of a chore.

Since last summer, when the back end of the shop nearly collapsed on us, and since we lost more than two months trading at a peak time in the retail year, we have overcome the initial concerns about not having the shop as the mainstay of the business. Indeed, the time that we have spent at home, either on our own or with our wonderful little grandson, soon led us to realise just what we’d been missing out on and how much our lives were being dictated by the shop-hours

So, starting on 1st January, things will change. There will not be a shop and we shall therefore no longer be selling the home-wares and the craft-ware that we have stocked for the better part of the last five years. I will continue to teach, to write and to turn, and my work will still be available, not only in Bala, through Oriel Tan yr Hall, but also through Celf Aran Arts in Ty Siamas, Dolgellau, through Artworks in Aberdyfi, and from February, at Artworks2 in Betws y Coed. As well as these venues, I will also be exhibiting work at a few regional galleries for themed and open exhibitions.

I cannot stress too much, the thanks for and the appreciation that we have of those local people who have supported us since we opened in April, 2015. I think we came to realise, in 2016, that the shop was responsible for helping to build my reputation as a wood-turner, and maybe the success of the shop, in this respect, has brought about its own demise. We have made many new acquaintances and it has been amazingly rewarding to have local people seeking us out to buy or to commission my work, and I will still be available to complete commissions for those who wish to place them.

I leave you with a few pictures which might appear to be a little sad; bare walls and empty shelves, but like us, see beyond the empty shop and look forward to the future. We wish all of our customers a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year. Without you, we couldn’t have done it! Thank you!


7 Comments

Val Jones-Hughes · January 2, 2020 at 10:47 pm

All the very best for the future to both of you. Your wonderful work has developed and your artistry has been allowed to shine Les. You have been deservedly recognised in the wood turning community. So now onto the next exciting phase.

    Les · January 5, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Awww, thanks for that, Val.

M Lewis · January 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Last year my wife was given a gift of £30.00 in vouchers to be used at your shop,but as it has now closed can you please tell us how they can be redeemed.Ta.

    Les · January 5, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Hi there…We are happy to honour gift vouchers. We put a few posts on social media in advance of closing, but quite understand that not everybody reads our social media posts. The first thing that I need to know is whether your wife wants something from the range of home-wares that we used to stock, or something from the stock of turned wooden items that I make.

Luke Lucas · January 4, 2020 at 11:12 am

Hi, we came across your work at the Dolgellau gallery and are interested in possibly commissioning four of your wooden turned pens, there is a Celtic themed one at Dolgellau.
We don’t need them identical, in fact each unique would be more interesting. Is it possible to be rollerball or fountain pen instead of ballpoint? Could you give us an idea of price for four pens, timescale to make and ideas for finishes please?
Regards, Luke

    Les · January 5, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Hello Luke and thanks for the enquiry. Regretfully, I have stopped making pens. My natural style of wood-turning is very free and organic, simply designing the pieces that I make according to a blend of personal taste and the natural characteristics of the piece of wood that I’m using. I tried making a couple of batches of pens for sale at my own shop, but I found the process far to prescriptive and didn’t enjoy it too much because I simply couldn’t put much personal flair into it. The Celtic pen at Ty Siamas, is therefore the last pen that I have in stock. What I can do is to ask a good friend of mine, who is a pen-turner, whether or not she makes the “Celtic” pattern. Would you be interested in buying a few pens from her, if she makes the pattern that you want?

      Les · January 6, 2020 at 7:33 am

      Hello again Luke….I checked with my friend and she can make the extra few Celtic pattern for you. Just let me know if you want to go ahead and I’ll put you in touch with her.

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