Paul Adamson is the craftsman behind EcoCreate shop Woodsman Crafts. We asked him to tell us about his green woodcarving, teaching and love of bushcraft, this is what he had to say…
My name is Paul Adamson and my companies name is Woodsman Crafts. I chose the name several years ago because of my background in managing trees and woodland, then taking nice looking and interesting pieces of wood home and making things from them. Being in this line of work is a privilege as I often get hold of material that I know is useful for craft, and unless I take, it will normally become firewood or left to rot down in the woods, not that that’s all bad.
I’m based in Derbyshire and it feels like I run my business full time as I put the same amount of hours per day into it as I do my full time day job. I’ve been practising wilderness living and bushcraft skills for over ten years, and its the practical everyday objects made from natural materials that really grabbed my attention, and something that was easier to practice while raising children. Tracking and wild food are subjects I’m constantly working on too.
I didn’t attend any dedicated craft college courses, but I was shown how to make a spoon as part of a bushcraft course in 2004, by a company called Woodlore. It was a turning point for me and I spent all the following years researching and trying methods that I had read about within books and the internet. I can’t say I was self taught because if those people hadn’t put the information out there, I would be struggling. I have found a few ways of improving methods for making items and worked out a lot for myself when proper descriptions were missing or hard to understand. It was then I decided I had reached a level where I could teach wood carving and several other outdoor skills honed whilst camping out in all weathers.
I currently create, Wooden spoons, kuksa (wooden drinking cups), Carved wooden bowls, and Bark containers, and when the time, wood carving knives and leather sheaths. I’ve attempted to become proficient in other crafts such as Basket making, flint knapping and bow and arrow making with some successes with them. I use simple hand tools as that’s often all that’s needed. This and always using unwanted or sustainable materials when possible, makes me quite environmentally friendly.
I guess my most popular creations are a large kuksa made from Birch Burl which I cut from the side of a fallen tree. It holds a full 500ml bottle of beer! And a complicated Scandinavian style bushcraft knife made from scrap materials.
Making functional items that work well, often from difficult materials that also look good, to me is why I do it. I get a great sense of achievement from the whole process of finding the materials, processing it, crafting, and using.
I plan to use tree barks more in my work, making better containers and weaving with the material more often. I also plan to use my basic flint knapping skills in glass to make jewellery and pretty things for use in windows.
The only awards I have won have been all the positive and critical comments along the way. Earning respect from those I admire for putting in the hours, means more to me than awards and to be fair there aren’t many out there for folks like me anyhow in this industry.
Paul writes a very detailed blog about his wood carving and bushcraft www.woodsmancrafts.blogspot.co.uk
His main website can be found here - www.woodsmancrafts.co.uk
You can buy Pauls crafts here on EcoCreate by visiting his shop www.eco-create.co.uk/shop/woodsman-crafts.html