I can’t believe it is two months since I last posted anything in this blog, and that we are now at the start of another new year. I’m still not sure where November and December disappeared to, but I do know it was a very busy eight weeks for me in a variety of ways. First there was an Art Fair at the beginning of December which involved me in having to work overtime at producing pieces to sell on my stall. I really enjoy these events because it gives me chance to meet people who look at my work and, if they like it enough, are willing to part with some cash to buy it – either for themselves, or for friends and family as Christmas gifts. As I have said here before, I love talking about wood, and especially enjoy explaining to people how I make various things which are displayed on my stall. However, it is always good to just chat with people about wood…..and trees…..and design….about the sensuality of wood and the mysteries of grain and figure which turned wood is able to show off to such beautiful natural effect. I love to watch people approach my display…watch as they look over the various pieces…. linger here and there…. and then -that tell-tale sign of a wood lover- reach out a hand to touch a piece I have turned….watch them stroke it and enjoy the textures (I love to mix textures in my work). To me, that simple act makes the hours that I spend at my lathe turning new shapes and thinking up new sensory experiences so worthwhile – just knowing that a new piece of work will provide someone with visual and tactile pleasure.
In the event, this last Art Fair was a resounding success for me – my best yet, in fact – and the long hours spent in my workshop in freezing conditions getting things ready for the fair, was all worthwhile. I forgot to mention that the second half of November and the first week of December were increasingly cold …..with temperatures hovering around freezing point before dropping as low as minus ten degrees Celsius by mid-December…. and I have no heating in my workshop. As it happens I managed to keep fairly warm (at least my feet did!) because I simply left all the curly shavings on the floor at the end of each day’s work instead of sweeping them all up as I usually do. This meant that by the time the temperatures were in minus figures, I had about ten centimetres of curly insulation to keep my feet warm as I stood at my lathe!
As soon as the Fair was over, I then had to go up north to the island of Anglesey, where my ex-wife still lives in our former home, which has still not been sold. The purpose of my trip was to retrieve most of the remainder of my personal possessions which remained in the house, and since she had already disposed of some of my treasures, I was anxious to remove as much of what remained before they, too, disappeared! My son, who still lives on the island, kindly offered to drive a van down to Berkshire with as much as we could pack into it. Great plan……. but there was a problem looming in the shape of the increasing threat of heavy snowfall before Christmas. For once, we were lucky, and the two days we decided upon to make the 600-mile round trip turned out to be the final two days before the snow started. Marvellous! As a result, my beloved Georgian grandfather clock is now snuggly standing in the corner of our sitting room here, and I feel a lot happier as a result. I had rashly promised to renovate the beautiful (but sadly very neglected) Oak parquet floor in the sitting room before Christmas, and only just managed to finish the job by Christmas Eve – after a week’s work sanding it down and then applying six coats of varnish to bring it back to its former glory. It was back-breaking work and very, very dusty……but it has made so much of a difference that just looking at it when it was finished helped to ease my badly aching back!
So you see – there simply hasn’t been much time to indulge myself in writing anything here, but long hours in the workshop, and then on my knees sanding the sitting room floor provided ample opportunity for meditation and even the odd bit of daydreaming too, and perhaps I shall be able to share some of those thoughts with you in a few days time. Oh, and I have already promised Stephany Sprole, who commented that my blog had become a bit boring of late, that I will try to make it more interesting in 2011 – so I must keep my promise. Call back in a few days and see what you think. Until then I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year – and may it bring you at least some of all the things you wish for (well, we can’t have everything, can we!).