Wednesday 2 September 2015
Ben Law's latest book, Woodland Craft is a collection of more than 20 wood craft projects for homes and gardens and is to be released in October. To celebrate, we thought we'd find out more about the man himself.
Woodworkers Institute: Tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do
Ben Law: I am a woodsman, passionate about sustainable woodland management and craftwork and our traditions of coppice management. I am excited by the full moon, refreshed by natural swimming pools and love the lessons I learn from working with wood!
WI: Who and what are you inspired by?
BL: I am inspired by forest dwellers around the globe who steward their woodlands and pass on their knowledge to future generations. It is the whole process of working in the forest, felling the tree, converting it to the craft produce that inspires me - when I hold in my hand a trough or a bowl, and know the time I have put into shaping it, but also remember extracting the tree and also remember felling the tree and know that the overall woodland is benefiting from my act of felling the tree, it is then I can truly admire my craft.
WI: What is the most unusual thing you've ever made from wood?
BL: Probably my daughter Tess asking me to make her a mobile phone! But on a larger scale supplying 550 linear metres of curvy sweet chestnut poles to make a water serpent sculpture for a park in Milton Keynes.
WI: Can you tell us about any major crafting disasters you've had?
BL: When I was building the community shop in my village - the 'Lodsworth Larder' - one of the chestnut cruck poles opened up due to the extra heat and the fact we were making the frames over the heat of a black tarmac car park. This involved dismantling the frame and making a new cruck to fit!
WI: Do you have any grand plans for the future we should keep an eye out for?
BL: My next project is a true woodland craft project - making 56,900 cleft chestnut shakes for the new gateway project at the Weald and Downland Open air museum in West Sussex - I believe it will be the largest cleft shake roof in England once completed.
See Ben speak at one of the following events this Autumn:
International Permaculture Convergence - Tuesday 8 September, 2015
Bentley Woodfair - Saturday 19 September, 2015
RHS Wisley’s Autumn Woodfest - Sunday 4 October, 2015
Isle of Wight Literary Festival - Friday 16 October, 2015
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