Lonely carvers

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Mark Baker

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My recent comments have resulted in a lot of calls, emails and letters from readers. Thank you for that. I have enjoyed reading them all and it is wonderful hearing what people are up to and making. Do keep the correspondence coming.

One of the things I have gleaned – and trust me when I say there are many more which I will comment on in future issues – is that many people carve in physical isolation and this is mainly due to no clubs being nearby to attend. Now, having said that, the comments I heard about the lack of clubs nearby to attend and share with others meant that publications such as this one played a valuable role in being part of a community, even if isolated from it physically. I know clubs are not for everyone, but the majority of those who have talked to me over the years have said that belonging to a club is a great experience and if you have one nearby they have said go along and see if it suits.

Many carvers are members of online communities, but again, the majority of those I have spoken to say it would be nice to belong to a club too. Having said that, some mentioned that, due to mobility issues, an online community was fine for them and provided opportunities to share and ask questions that would not be possible otherwise.

I have had a few people get quite irritable about a lack of club near them. My response is that if one doesn’t exist, why not start one? Ooops. I put my foot in it with that comment. One person huffed and puffed and said it was a lot of hard work setting up a club for possibly not a lot of return. Another said they did not think they could set one up due to not knowing where to start. Others raised eyebrows but said nothing. Why is it always someone else who has to do something?

The number of people who carve is huge and far bigger than people think due to the majority of carvers not belonging to a club. I have written on this before and over the years it seems the situation has remained pretty much the same, except for a couple of points worth mentioning.

Data suggests there is a gradual diminution in the numbers of carvers who belong to a club and a very slow decline in the number of clubs available for people to attend. Hmm. Does this sound familiar? I have no magic solution to this. But if people want clubs there may be a need to for someone to find like- minded people and set one up.

The ball is in your court, so to speak. But remember, we are never truly alone. There are many routes available to share and talk with other like-minded people. It is just a case of working out what is best for you.

Celebrating British Craft Exhibition

On a totally different note, GMC in Association with Axminster Tools & Machinery is staging an exhibition called Celebrating British Craft.

There will be demonstrations, exhibitions of work and feature items from the British Woodturner of the Year Competition. The event is open from 8-19 May 2019 and will be held at the Oxo Gallery in London.

Have fun, Mark

To get in touch, please email me: markb@thegmcgroup.com

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