At Making Uncovered, furniture maker Ben Willis will demonstrate how beautiful pieces of furniture can be crafted from wood in its rawest form, straight from the tree. As well as demonstrating a range of woodworking techniques, Ben will offer short taster sessions in turning wood on a foot-operated lathe.
Tell us a bit about your work.
I’m a green woodworker – that’s to say, I make furniture and other objects such as spoons and bowls out of unseasoned or ‘green’ wood. It’s an amazing way of working with wood; the fact the wood is still full of moisture means it’s soft and able to be worked with quiet and dust-free hand tools rather than lots of big messy machines. The techniques I use are millennia old.
My main speciality is making chairs. There’s something I find utterly addictive about this. One on level, chairs are such everyday items, but a sculptural, hand-crafted chair can be such a presence in a room – it has a character and life of all of its own and there’s nothing I find more rewarding than bringing one into being.
Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered?
I was part of the organising team last year, and the event was such a success that I wanted to be part of it again. It’s great to be part of such a positive team and to put on such a colourful event.
Apart from that, I just love demonstrating what I do and talking to people about it. Green wood crafts aren’t something you see everyday in an urban environment, so being able to show them to a new audience is always fun.
What will you be doing at Making Uncovered?
I’m going to have a couple of my pedal-powered lathes on the go. One I’ll be using for demonstrations, showing people how I fashion parts for chairs and other items. Then the other one will be free for people to come and have a go.
I’m doing this rather sign-up workshops as I did last year. I enjoyed doing that last time, but I want to give more people a go this year so have opted for a less structured approach. I’m certain I’ll have found a few more green woodwork converts by the end of the day!
Ben will be letting visitors “have a go” throughout the day at Making Uncovered. No need to book – just turn up. Get your free ticket to Making Uncovered here.