Born in Edinburgh in 1970, I was introduced to woodworking at an early age in my grandfather’s workshop. Throughout my childhood I could always be found in the garden shed with some blocks of wood, constructing some early early creations. I left school at the age of 16 with good qualifications and advice to follow a different career to the one I’d already set my heart on. However, I decided to fulfil my passion of working with wood and trained as a carpenter in a local firm in Balerno.
My participation in intricate and specialised designs encouraged a great respect for and understanding of wood, taking it beyond its expected limits in terms of both craftsmanship and finish.
In 1993, following a paralysing illness (Guillain Barre Syndrome) which unfortunately left me with some residual weakness and pain in my feet, I was unable to return to carpentry as a full time profession.
Having a great devotion to working with wood, I was determined to carry it on, which led me into the art of woodturning and carving which has been entirely self-taught.
After a few years of selling my work through a small number of galleries, I decided to set up my own business ‘Harmonies in Wood’. A continual and expanding interest in unique designs and craftsmanship has resulted in my work being exhibited in numerous galleries throughout Scotland and the UK with some European and American exhibitions too.
The freshness of my designs, I’m told, continues to surprise and delight an evergrowing number of private and corporate collectors of my work. I think my ability to challenge the predictable function of the basic form of a bowl led me to unite wood with different materials such as metals, fused glass and stone, creating a dramatic fusion of effects.
Mandy and I work really well together, we bounce ideas of design and colours off each other and sometimes an idea from each of us creates and even better outcome.
Mandy looks after supplies and order book and keeps me organised. We both like to achieve high standards and we have the same sense of humour which means we make a good team at work and home. We set rules on work time and family time so that we have a good work/life balance and have quality time with the kids whilst still making sure we fulfil our commitment to work.
We’ve worked together for 22 years (full time for the last 16 years) and I couldn’t have got where I am today with the business without Mandy’s support and help.