Wood carving

Back in the day, I was a keen amateur sculptor. I was lucky enough to live in Oxford, England, where there is a strong tradition of carving and sculpture going back to the Middle Ages. There was a broad spectrum of adult education classes in the visual arts. I used to take my entire annual leave in Wednesday mornings, so that I could attend life sculpture classes. (Yes, I was still an employee — that’s how long ago it was.)

My favourite medium was wood. It is such a wonderful material for carving. The sculptor has to go with the flow, follow the wood’s infinitely varied nature – a product of its species-specific characteristics and the environment in which it grew as a tree: the cycle of the seasons, flood and drought, heat and frost, trauma from fungal and insect attack, etc.

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Jewellery making

Most of my life I’ve been involved in creative hobbies of one kind or another: drawing, woodcarving, sculpture, ceramics, music – and these days, writing fiction, of course.

Jewellery making is another craft that I wanted to try. A handcrafted piece of jewellery is a small thing, but potent with meaning. All the more so if you make it yourself, or if someone you love makes it for you.

I now have the chance. A new art and craft space has opened up in Drysdale, offering classes and workshops, and one of the artisans is John McAleer, a master jeweller with nearly 40 years’ experience.

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