Having now spent a few years working in the conservation 'arena' I was fortunate enough to meet some
exceptional people, and it was through that network of friends that I managed to get an invitation to
an interview at Carpenter Oak and Woodland.
I was then given a chance by them to prove that I had enough interest, will and patience to learn new skills and approaches to woodwork.
I was amazed at how the company approach was so pro-active. They could get to know me and assess whether I had, I suppose the right properties rather than just required highly polished skills.
While the challenge was extremely exciting, it was rather daunting to be given a rather Spartan drawing, a couple of trestles and pointed in the direction of a large pile of freshly sawn oak!
It seems rather funny now after nearly eight years of working with large timbers, as nearly all the processes involved have become practically automatic, so much so that when asked to explain something, I really have to think, how did I just do that?
Fortunately like-minded thoughtful and generous colleagues who were still passionate about what it was that we were doing surrounded me. They helped me overcome the seemingly impossible tasks of joining huge and long pieces of timber together in such a way that made sense when it was put together with other people's work. The teamwork that was necessary was something I had yearned for, and is something most people would only dream about.
I was hooked. We were building some beautiful buildings, exploring greater possibilities of working with green oak and breaking down preconceptions about the limitations of both the material and design characteristics as well as the perceived lack of skilled craftsmen. It was then and increasingly so now very exciting. It only feels like work when I have to sit in my office and deal with the structures of running a business that bring you down to earth with a bit of a bump. However, every time I erect another structure that I have put time, energy and love into and it stands there ready to face hundreds of years of useful service with grace and permanence I get a terrific deep sense of satisfaction, and that keeps me in this glorious love affair.
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