here it is, the guided tour of my studio.
Before we start you need to understand my studio is rather a nebulous thing in the way it sort of revolves around my home, a bit like the space junk that orbits the earth!
Firstly there is the place everyone calls my studio which is large and spacious over the top of a treble garage with a broad veranda overlooking the garden and bounded by trees. An ideal setting in which to drink coffee; whilst listening to the birds singing on the tops of their bird boxes and watching the honey bees mesmerically buzzing in and out of their hives. It’s a great place to relax; of course I mean work. Here I design my pieces, select and cut the glass, spend hours looking at its texture, colour and translucence. Getting this right is so important, it is the light that makes the pieces sing, so you really have got to get the right members in the choir.
The studio is a place of peace and solitude; that lends itself to inspiration and allows those very necessary strolls through the imagination. I always have the company of my two dogs, Patch and Dot, who are very consistent in offering only favourable comments on my work, when asked. It’s also where my poetry is written, or rather where it is tidied up, it tends to get written on scrappy bits of paper all over the place. The same desks is where the all the other paper work is dealt with, so as with all things there is a little down side. Really this is the place where things are finished, the place where you find out if you have been wasting your time on a fool’s errand for the last month or where you just sit gobsmacked, look in awe and think “did I really do that”!
Secondly, there is the garden; where all the wood I use arrives as sections of tree trunk (cut down by myself or more usually, my son) and is processed into more useable pieces, it makes it more personal somehow, actually knowing each tree that ends up in your work. It is also really important to be able to cut the pieces to exactly the dimensions you want and to be able to spot the marvellous grain, the rich marbling or a fantastic water stain caused by some random rot. It really is true; Tree Beard is out there, the trees do speak to you if you listen hard enough.
Thirdly is the garage, amongst an assortment of bee hive components, bird boxes and an array of tools organised in a series of rather dangerous but sometimes quite architectural piles, in competition for space with my wife’s car, are my stock piles of seasoning wood. These fill the place with a curious smell, a mixture of damp and the perfume of resin, a truly wondrous aroma to anyone who thinks wood is just an incredible, if sometimes cantankerous, material.
Finally I have a small room under the house, where all the wood working tools are kept. The floor is covered in an inch or two of sawdust and the benches in a scattering of chisels and sandpaper. I am normally wearing ear protectors, and so it is absolutely true when I insist that I wasn’t ignoring the rest of world and I really didn’t hear that shout or the repeated ring of my phone. This is where the wood is cut, shaped and polished, where that amorphous lump comes to life to tell a story, where the rough surface becomes smooth and sensual. Don’t you just love wood?