I have recently joined the Devon Rural Skills Trust, who run regular courses throughout the year and a trainee scheme promoting a variety of rural skills including dry stone walling, hedge laying, coppicing, and cob building and now spoon carving!
I was given a warm welcome by Joseph the DRST course co-ordinator who published this interview with me in their summer newsletter:
'I am delighted to join the Devon Rural Skills Trust, because simply put it makes sense that as many green wood workers, land-workers, craftspeople are all linked up so that we can share each others skills, knowledge and experience and most importantly: join in a collective effort to preserve and champion the uptake of rural skills in this critical period of biodiversity loss
I am currently a novice hedgelayer, but I hope what I lack in experience I make up for in keenness! Being out in the field, working with the raw materials of elder, hazel and blackthorn, engaging hands and mind in the calculations of how to lay the hedge to maximise growth and keep in imagined or real livestock - it is a truly wholesome and rewarding craft
On a practical level, the carver in me is satisfied by the challenge of carving out each pleach precisely – and the bonus is often some off cuts of lovely wood. On a recent days hedgelaying with our Lokervya group of Cornish carvers, we spent half the day laying a hedge of hawthorn, spindle and elder, and the other half carving spoons from the Hawthorn off cuts. A truly nourishing and inspiring day. The benefits to the bio-diverstiy of the land, our own wellbeing and the sharing of each others skills are many, and the spoons are a living memory of the hedge itself shovelling goodness with each mouthful
I am looking forward to sharing my skills as a spooncarver and greenwoodworker, and linking up with hedgelayers and rural craftspeople and anyone who’d like to engage with these crafts which have a role both in the preservation of our heritage and the creation of a bio-diverse and habitat rich future.'
To find out more about the Devon Rural Skills Trust