Stunning carvings and crafts showcase Britain’s finest woodcarving
Britain’s top woodworking talent is judged for a prestigious event.
Three competitors compete to win the title of Heritage Crafts and Axminster Tools Woodworker of the Year.
And – as these images show – the competition is tough. The three finalists are a wood carver, a cabinet maker and a luthier. And the winner will be chosen on November 7th.
Otters apparently swimming in an elm plank. Most of the work of the worker David Robinson is about wildlife, landscapes, flowers and plants
Rockpool: The ‘pool table’ was inspired by a rock pool in the Western Isles of Scotland – and is filled with sea creatures
This tabletop celebrates the sculptor’s memorable travels to Peru and Brazil and records 21 animals. David said “the jaguar’s expression was a challenge to capture, the disdainful look on the giant river otter’s face is a delight, and the sloth…well, clearly life is good, hang on you be happy”
Inspired by Highland Loch Rannoch, this shows an osprey descending to catch a trout. It is made from Scottish elm, hand-rubbed oil and beeswax
Daniel Carpenter, Director of Heritage Crafts, said: “We are delighted with the quality on display among the finalists for this new award with Axminster Tools.
“The UK is full of artisan talent, although it is not always easy for artisans to do what they do amidst the challenges and demands of modern life.
“We need to shout louder about this important and rewarding part of our culture.”
The three finalists are David Robinson from East Lothian in Scotland, Jonathan Hill from London and Robin Johnson from Hastings.
David Robinson is a self-taught woodcarver with 30 years of experience.
He works largely with scissors he made himself from old pocket knives and old Land Rover springs.
The carver most often uses Scottish hardwoods for his projects – using its grain characteristics to convey the expression of the animals he depicts.
Meanwhile, Jonathan builds historic and modern stringed instruments including the viola d’amore, lira da braccio, violin and viola families.
This Lira da braccio – a European Renaissance bowed string instrument – is largely based on the example of Giovanni Maria da Brescia in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The same size as a viola, this northern Italian Brescian-style instrument has five playing strings on the fingerboard and two drone strings that can be tuned as the player wishes.
This superb Viola D’Amore Die Lorelei 7/7 has a beautiful blue-green color with its decoration based on the legend of ‘die Lorelei’, a German poem by Heinrich Heine, in which a haunting and seductive mermaid lures sailors to their dead. Each part was made using traditional techniques and materials to suit the theme. Color is made from indigo carmine stain and phthalocyanine oil pigment
His biography states that he “worked for a master luthier in Yorkshire and studied instrument making in Turkey with a traditional master luthier”.
And his website says his work reflects the beauty, craftsmanship and non-standardization of historical instruments.
Finally, Robin Johnson produces bespoke joinery, furniture and ironwork from his workshop in Hastings.
For the past 12 months he has designed and built the furniture for a gold medal winning main garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and has been featured on TV shows Kings of the Wood and Salvage Hunters – The Restorers.
The work of all three will be judged for the competition organized by Heritage Crafts.
The charity was set up to celebrate and safeguard traditional craftsmanship as a fundamental part of the UK’s living heritage.
Robin making abstract corner shelves, constructed of hardwood plywood with cedar edges. Robin cut thousands of cuboids from mixed hardwood, to varying lengths, then attached them to the outer sides of the shelf, before finishing the inner sides of the shelf in Micro-Cement in a range of colors
Located on the edge of a small lake, this treehouse sits on a metal frame base and uses an old felled oak tree for its structure
Robin was commissioned by gardener and landscaper Joe Perkins to design and build a seat for his Meta Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which explored the relationship between fungi and trees. Here is the Chanterelle chair, inspired by the shape of the mushroom with which the chair shares its name
Its chairman is King Charles and Jay Blades of The Repair Shop is a trustee.
Axminster Tools works with makers and designers at all levels, from trade professionals to craft enthusiasts.
A spokesperson said: “This new award celebrates a heritage craftsman who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of woodworking over the past year.
“It recognizes a contribution that goes far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular skill in woodworking.”
The judges are Robin Wood, an internationally renowned green carpenter, Alan Styles, managing director of Axminster Tools and Sarah Goss, a traditional woodcarver.