I was born in Norfolk in 1950, grew up in Suffolk. I went to The Perse School, Cambridge, followed by 3 years at Norwich City College.
The RAF sent me to North Fife in 1982 and I have lived here ever since.
I started my working life in the hotel and catering business, before joining the Royal Air Force. The RAF gave me a series of interesting jobs before I qualified as an air traffic controller in 1984. I loved the actual job, but seriously disliked the uniform and the anachronistic heirarchy that went with it.
I left the RAF at the age of 45 and set up a business, doing antique furniture restoration from the shed behind my house in Auchtermuchty. This work presented regular and interesting challenges and I was continuously acquiring new skills and working in a variety of materials. After a few years it seemed a natural step into woodwork design, making my own pieces of furniture and other wooden items. There is a good supply of beautiful native Scottish timber in this area... a great source of inspiration. My furniture has been mostly one-off arty pieces, but I have done the odd small production run. I have also made a lot of small wooden items like chopping boards, wall plaques, trophies and boxes.
In the autumn 2016 I set myself the challenge of creating a handmade ukulele from local timber. This was a very steep and satisfying learning curve and I have now made 15, one of which you will find for sale on this website...
Collaborators... partners in crime
Black Rose Designs A chance meeting 5 years ago gave me a new dimension to my woodwork projects. I discovered the possibilities offered by laser etching. In Keith Gorman's skilled and creative hands, I can add graphics and text to pretty much anything. The technology also offers fine precision cutting for inlays and the like. Over the years I have thrown Keith many an impossible challenge... he has yet to say no!
Tina Scott Tina works in metal and glass. From fairy houses to heavy steel gates, she supplements her extensive technical skills with a practised eye for form and proportion. Our collaborations have mostly been about the beautiful and sometimes quirky combination of wood and steel.
Joe Nicholson Joe is more than just a very good picture framer. He has a fine art training and possesses a natural eye for form and colour. His technical skills are beyond reproach, but what I value even beyond that is his ability and willingness to share his insight on the creative process... Oh, and he is the best neighbour.
Jan Silvera Jan has a part time job at a local organic farm shop and I was very impressed by the compassion she showed for a hapless caterpillar, which was trying to hitch a ride home with me on some curly Kale. I then discovered that her sensitivity extends to old chairs. The rest of the time, when she is not rescuing wayward beasties, she has an upholstery business, using traditional techniques to breathe new life into precious old furniture.
Jim Shears Jim started his training as a jeweller, but his projects just got bigger and bigger. His main medium now is steel... he builds very imaginative and decorative gates, railings, garden furniture and some very impressive sculptures. There is a full size steel highland cow to be found in Tentsmuir forest, near St Andrews, and a full set of planets at a school in the Midlands. Jim and his apprentices can always be relied on to come up with a metal compliment to my woodwork.
Dennis AndersonDennis has the love of timber that so many of us share. The sheer joy of a beautifully figured piece of timber, is what he lives for. His advantage is that he has the knowledge, experience and equipment to find the best in Scottish native timber. Gorgeous, odd pieces of timber from Dennis's sawmill have been the inspiration for many of my projects.
Jules JenkinsJules shares my workshop a couple of days a week. He also works in fine local timbers, but his work is aimed at a slightly different market. Working with his wife Shiona, who is very a talented artist with a pyrography stylus, he produces small items for the craft market... including hooks, bird feeders, food boards, clocks and other decorative items in wood.
Steve AgnewSteve is a luthier who mostly makes acoustic guitars, mandolins and bazoukis... beautiful handmade instruments for discerning musicians. From his studio in Pitscottie, he also offers an instrument repair and restoration service. Steve has some amazing skills in woodwork as well as in the specialist precision required in making musical instrument play and sound great. He is also very generous with his abundent knowledge... and cake. He has been my mentor in my ukulele journey, giving unfailing encouragement and sharing his technical knowledge and enthusiasm.