Young people get going

It’s been some time since I posted on my thoughts and feelings about people I have come to know, like Matt, a London Barrister who impressed me with his skills and tenacity with hand tools as he progressed his life to become. He loved his work in the world of law, worked for the right things and fought passionately for things that matter. I could feel it when I worked with him. He was the same in the woodshop as he was in the courts I am certain. He was fun to be with and he took time out to laugh, enjoy and live.

Lea was the same. She is a care giver when she’s not working with wood, working with friends to change life for others and adds much to the life of those she meets and to the woodworking school – so much. Young people who care passionately about the reward of hand work – it’s not just young people either – older people like me too, have something to give and sometimes a craftsman teacher can lose sight of the reality that they don’t just give but receive. I don’t suppose I am that old, approaching my mid sixties, it all depends on your perspective. When I think back to Jonathon and his dad coming together on a course here, it was inspiring to see them working that way. When I think of another Jonathan who made a perfect rocking chair, and Mick I called Mike all the time and Phil who works with me, Phil Adams, I feel a sense of contentment rise up in a sort of swelling I can’t describe too well. It’s here that you sort of lose quick and witty banter, intellectualised rhetoric, dialectic between the intelligentsia and political maneuverers and realise the important stuff that matters.

I met Adam at Kansas City Missouri with others too. I met him and couldn’t help see the decision he was making in in taking charge of his life. He made this video and I asked if I could share it with you. He said some very humble things but wanted to help others carve their future by whatever he had done with his own endeavour. I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did:

Also, I think of Caleb and Charity. They too have made hard decisions because Caleb wanted to become a craftsman in wood. He is in the middle of a commission for a chest of drawers. A dresser in the US. Caleb is joining us for our three-month community interest project in the Fall, all being well. Several younger people are coming here to the UK for 3 months with me when we all get off the conveyor belt to build 80 pieces together. Beds and dining suites, office desks and conference tables. Cutting boards and wooden ladles are all part of our seeding that next generation…

…I realise that it’s different for everyone and that we all have responsibilities so this is just to encourage you by your encouragement of me. I wrote a piece some time back about seeing your working in wood as your real job and your income-paying job as your second job. That’s worked for me in the past. I had a nine year stint in a job I took to pay the bills until I gained enough support to go it on my own. It’s different strokes for different folks.


  1. Caleb Pendleton on 11 April 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I like that you are not exclusive (not pointing out what other people are doing or good at) in your woodworking but inclusive (make woodworking available and accessible to kids, women and men). Looking forward to the possibility of spending 3 month with you, the rest of the group and 80 pieces 🙂

    • Paul Sellers on 11 April 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Yeah, me too. Let’s change lives. Let’s do it.

      • Matthew on 1 March 2014 at 11:51 am

        What would you say is a good starting age for kids? When did you start working with yours and what projects did they do first?

        • Paul Sellers on 1 March 2014 at 3:59 pm

          I started mine pretty much as soon as they could walk and talk. Sandpaper and a stick of wood can be really entertaining. 5 years old they can usually use a spokeshave and rasp. They can use a chisel if your hands are right there near or on theirs, but I quickly add here, these are your kids and not mine. You know them and I don’t. Not all kids mature equally even on the ssame family with the same parents, siblings from the same parents and so on. So, this will be your decision and forethought and not me saying this or that is ok and a one-size-fits-all doesn’t work here. Hope that thois helps.

        • Paul Sellers on 1 March 2014 at 4:02 pm

          Spatulas and drum sticks are great.Cutting boards and serving platters. Nothing complex.

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