Thursday, 22 April 2010

my crafty dad

Dad's 80th birthday has made me reflect on his life as a woodwork, technical drawing, metalwork and crafts teacher.

He trained at Shoreditch College in the early 1950's after completeing his National Service.  He always made lots of our furniture in those early day - they still talk about, and sometimes laugh about, his early work.  In fact he's made lots of furniture over the years until ill health forced him to give up.

Dad's always been experimental and has tried every new material that's become available since the 1950's - acrylics, plastic, fibre glass, resin.  He's still my first port of call when I'm trying to work out how to do something different or new.

He worked with fibre glass & resin in the 1970's. OMG, I remember the smell of that resin, it's one of the reasons I work with epoxy resin now as it's odourless - much more expensive but I can't bear the smell of polyester resin.  His pupils used to make fibre glass boats - they had to make their own moulds from wood before making the boat with fibre glass and resin.  The boats were finished with a wooden deck and small engine.

He also made surfboards for us to use on our family hoildays in Croyde Bay, North Devon.  In those days it was a sleepy village, no gift shops & not trendy.  We camped in Farmer Brown's orchard (one cold tap & no facilities - we used the public loos in the village)

He dabbled with jewellery occasionally too making animal shaped wooden brooches and pendants, abstract shaped metal pendants and brooches, acrylic cut into lots of different shapes, enamelling and other items that escape my memory at the moment.

Unfortunately in his late 40's he had to give up teaching due to ill health but didn't give up crafting.  He built (with help) a workshop in the garden and took up woodturning.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the online craft selling sites had been available then although he used to sell well at the local craft fairs.

Well, I've waffled on for too long now - hope you didn't fall asleep - but if you're interested I'll carry on with dad's story at a later stage and tell you about his post teaching crafting life

Dad's given up craft fairs these days so I sell some of his work for him from our All Wood shops on GroovyCart and MISI (same items - just have to remember to delete items when they sell)


  1. great stuff, would love to read more. its amazing what we get from our parents isn't it? my dad was a jobbing printer and used to print the words on the insides of greetings cards, letterheadings and all sorts of other stationery, and I still now have a passion for stationery. my mum was always knitting, and so am I.

  2. Wooden moulds not vacuum forming , that must have been hard work