It’s been a year (give or take) since I quit my employment to take up woodworking on a serious, self-employed basis, so it feels well-timed to start adding some blog entries to my website. When people visit my website, I like to hope that they might get the feeling that it’s an extension of my workshop, and that there’s a sense of activity in real-time (or near as possible), and I think a blog is perhaps a good starting point for this.
As my ‘about’ page explains, we have recently uprooted from Cheltenham, and relocated to the north-east Herefordshire countryside. This comes right at the end of a very eventful year. A matter of weeks after going self-employed, the virus hit the country, and needless to say, hasn’t left. As a result, almost all craft fairs have been cancelled. To begin with this wasn’t actually an issue for me as I needed a good deal of time to build up stock, and therefore lockdowns haven’t felt that restrictive (I would’ve spent almost all my time buried away in the workshop anyway). I managed to get my first two ‘in-person’ craft fairs in during December, so that was nice to expose my work and talk to punters. Fingers crossed that this new year brings much more freedom to get out, get exposure, and sell.
Two other big life-events happened; our daughter, Bonnie Hope Souter arrived in April, and Fran and I, against all odds, got married in Gretna Green in October. We won’t forget 2020 easily.
And as I started saying, in December we relocated to north-east Herefordshire, a short drive from Bromyard. It was quite strange leaving the basement workshop where my woodworking ‘career’ started; it had a certain charm working from the cellar of a Regency terrace (albeit a humble one) in the heart of a town. Nevertheless, swapping that for the countryside has been utterly wonderful (the banner photograph at the top of this page is a shot I took on a walk from our doorstep…need I say more). As a small family we felt it was the right change to make, and being a craftsman in a rural environment feels appropriate – not to mention the practical advantages of having a detached, easily accessible workshop (basements have their drawbacks). Although talking of drawbacks, it’s been mighty cold out in the new workshop during this Baltic weather we’ve experienced over the first month or so of the new year. It’s currently still a very basic shed with absolutely no insulation, but I like its simple wooden construction so am loathed to make it feel sterile. It surely can’t get too much colder, and there’s still the option of adding a heater for the really cold days.
I’ve had some really enjoyable commissions to kick-start 2021, all of which can be seen on my commission page, and I’m excited about growing the business within our new surroundings.