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FOCUS: SUSTAINABLE CRAFTING

by Pete of www.bodrighy.co.uk

I have always taken an interest in sustainable living and the way in which we treat and use our environment. So, inevitably, when I returned to woodturning, I approached and viewed it as a discipline that would involve as much of an environmentally friendly approach and ethos as possible.

This means that, by and large, I source the materials I use from as varied a range of sources as possible; hedgerows, gardens, old furniture and other peoples rejected timber. One of the beauties of woodturning is that you can use wood that a cabinet maker, joiner or carpenter would throw on the pile for burning. This approach of using what others would throw away is something that can be applied across the board as most crafts can be done by sourcing

96 | ukhandmade | Summer 2010

materials in a similar way. For example fabric crafters can utilise old clothes; jewellery makers can use all sorts of found and thrifted materials and the list goes on.

For me, half the enjoyment of woodturning comes from looking at a piece of wood and working with it, not forcing it to submit to my intentions. Obviously, when working to a commission there is sometimes a need to buy wood. Treen (Kitchenware), for example, needs to be made from a food safe wood which I may not always have in stock. Most of the time, however, I am able to use the wood I find and this has the added advantage that every piece will be totally unique.

Crafting can be horrendously expensive when you add up the costs

of base materials, tools, consumables and so on, but it really needn’t be. Some of the tools I use I make myself and I often use household products such as vegetable oil for food safe finishes.

Sourcing materials in this way enables me to keep my prices down. Granted, this does mean that those who buy buttons, spindles and crochet hooks have to accept that they may be getting something that has been made out of wood that was growing in the hedge or was part of a table leg not long ago. I find, however, that this is often a good selling point as many people feel that the unusual source of the wood gives the article that extra quality and character.

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