Lifestyle Creates Futures

My Week Was Mixed, Different, Refreshing, Inspiring, Hopeful

I left early from my tiny village Saturday morning and traveled the mountain passes, past many lakes to another village to be a part of something I hope never dies. Bedgellert held its annual horticultural and craft fair in the village community centre. We judged the work and ate lunch together and then the villagers and holiday makers came in to see what people grew and baked and made and drew and painted and craft was kept alive by people who felt creative work is worth their effort.

Looking at the Creative Work of Others

DSC_0025I visited some art and craft workshops in town and sales places you could buy from too. It was discouraging in some places to see hand made wooden spoons for £1.50 and original paintings and art framed for under £100. I came back and made my frame for a painting Joseph bought me of a Jay and felt thankful that I could own my own work and make frames for people I like and even sell my frames to people I don’t know. It’s my lifestyle.


Joseph and Kat came in to make a coffee table promised as a gift for friends that married last week. It made me glad that my kids can do things like that and like to. It’s lifestyle you see. Joseph’s a good furniture maker. He can make anything. DSC_0029The oak came from stock I keep around all of the time. It’s my bank; or should I say it’s the bank of a lifestyle woodworker. It’s been that way for forty years now and it’s not likely to change at this point in my lifestyle. I liked seeing them working together. It’s a sort of fulfilled dream to see my children able to work this way if they want to. DSC_0082My skills live in my children. How much more can I ask for. Does that mean they have to be woodworkers? Of course not. It means they are woodworkers. It’s got nothing to do with it being a job. How primitive. It’s to do with choices, abilities, skills, critical thinking, living beliefs, thriving, nurturing being.DSC_0024

John too has been making all week. His tools are coming together and he wen to the car boot yet again and picked up this saw for £5 and lots of other tools that looked ugly but ready to be restored for his kit for another fiver. Square awl and gouges. Lots of stuff really. He’s got to cut off all of the teeth and recut them but he can do it. in about an hour he’ll have an old saw restored that will last him a hundred years more. Imaging a lifetime saw for under £10. You see here is another lifestyle woodworker and craftsman emerging.

I Love the Welsh Mountain Villages and the Rivers that Pass through Them

Sharing your life with your friends is important. Mick and Sally Alexander are the ones that asked me to judge at the craft show in Bedgellert in the mountains. The town is lovely and we all sat and ate lunch together after the judging. Mick loves working wood even though he got involved a little later in life.

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He has a sense of therapy from the work and ends up feeling well when he’s done. Wellbeing matters and lifestyle is a choice not luck. You choose how you live whether it’s easy or not. now, that said, I know for some of you this may not be possible and my heart goes out to you. I hope that something might change so you too, if you want, can find a lifestyle of working wood or whatever you feel the calling too.

Sharing a Love for Woodworking Hand Tools

John bought me a 12” drawknife he thought I might like and I do like it. It’s a Marples drawknife and it reworked the bevel unit it fit my intent. I regret leaving most of my tools in Texas and New York because I would like to show you what I have used for five decades. I love them of course, you will not meet many woodworkers and especially teaching craftsmen that have they tools I have and can say they’ve used them for so long. DSC_0008One day they will go to my children and my grandchildren most likely. i buy tools frequently to make certain I have enough to supply those I love with good tools. Do you do that.? I hope so. they will love your gift as they grow and learn from you. It’s about lifestyle and life choices you see.

Reducing the Highs to reach the Lows


Of course you know I restored the flatness to my benchtop. That was a good job done and one I planned on doing now for a few weeks. I really enjoyed it and it felt good to work at again. Seeing Joseph and Kat gluing up the coffee table gift gave me joy and it was here that John brought his two-handed invention to test out. of course this was some fun we often have during the day. Laughter makes the heart glad. I believe in that really, seasons, times that matter – there is a time to be born, and a time to die; I think in part it goes like this; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…


Lifestyle starts with one person thinking just a slightly different though. Expanding the thought can result in options that can become opportunities careers advisors never heard f and school administrators never heard of and politicians note often dismiss than consider. It can keep expanding and people can take a fresh look at the real life they own from a different perspective and think about their future. I love that, don’t you.

Oh, this is me and my daughter. We spent the afternoon and evening together with my five grandsons and Joseph and Kat and my Wife, Liz and John. We goofed around a bit, spent time in the workshop at Penrhyn Castle and ate supper together.



  1. Amazing photos, Paul. Such a beautiful area to live in. So good to see family in the “business” as well. So few of us have the opportunity, or create the opportunity to work so closely with our children. Maybe our ancestors had it right after all. (Would that mean we would have to admit our parents were right?)

    1. I think different people do have different opportunities. We all make bad decisions and we all make good decisions. I think it’s important to consider that we can influence others the way we best can. I spent some time with a young mother today who is looking for the future for her young daughter. She would like to do the best for her and the standard procedure is to hand her daughter over to other ‘experts’ to educate her. Is that really the best thing to do?

  2. I spent this weekend with my son. He has a job but it is a ‘zero hours’ contract, so no guarantee of work. He is also a talented artist while I am not, but I was able to spend some time encouraging him to see how he can develop his artistic talent to provide him with an alternative source of income. We cannot all directly pass on our skills to our children, but we can still support and encourage them, even when they are ‘grown up’.

    1. I am glad you spent time with your son. Sons should look to dads for guidance and help I think. Creative workers need this because they are often misled by a society that can’t really understand why they don’t “get a real job.”

  3. Paul – I don’t understand how you could part with the tools you left in NY & TX. What caused the separation?

    1. I brought my closest with me and left the rest in storage as a temporary stop gap. As you grow older you start to prioritise and my priority became passing it forward to ensure that at least my knowledge would not be buried with me. The tools will rust and rot, but the legacy of craft training will be passed from life to life. My sadness is that few will do as I have done and make a living from it as long as politicians and educators work hand in hand to destroy the art of work and seeing anything like craft work only as a means to create what has been accepted as economy and people are seen as units by city planners. No one really sees themselves as being on the conveyor belt or punching the buttons that drive the parts because unfortunately woodworkers own “power tools” that are not seen as mass-manufacturing machines but toys to play with in the garage and people like me are just trying to stop people having fun or worse still keep people in the dark ages.
      Last week I worked with two friends to install a newel post and handrails for a young couple who needed the work done to foster children. We donated our time and our hand work for 10 hours each and we were off the conveyor belt and it was hard manual work and it was powerful and it was a privilege.

      1. “My sadness is that few will do as I have done and make a living from it as long as politicians and educators work hand in hand to destroy the art of work and seeing anything like craft work only as a means to create what has been accepted as economy and people are seen as units by city planners.”

        Paul, I suspect that you are right in that few in your lifetime or mine will have that opportunity. Some time back my best mate from school who was a trained psycholgist and counseler ( he passed away unexpectedly earlier this year ) asked me to try an exercise. It was to read any newspaper and count the number of times I found the word “economy” and the number of times I found either “community” or “society”. It was a scary exercise and bears out that we are indeed generally just seen as units in the system.

        And as you say, as you grow older you start to prioritise, and perhaps reflect on the opportunities that have been available to you throughout your life, and whether or not those opportunities are available to your kids or grandkids. In my case I conclude that they just aren’t. It also seems to me that the current system where we are all expected to just be “consumers” has an inbuilt failure mechanism and is mosty unsustainable in the long term.

        So I wonder about what ultimately my kids and grand kids will be left with. And here I find there’s every bit as much value in the lifetyle part of “Paul Sellers: Lifestyle Woodworker” as there is in the craft skills you share with us all.

        Yes, I want my kids to take a fresh look at that “real life they own” from a different perspective and think about their future; I want my grandkids to keep experiencing the joy of just making. Making anything will do ! I guess it’s as much a case of passing on a philosophy as it is of passing on skills. Of planting the seeds now and realising that we just may not be around to see them bear fruit. But it sure is nice now when my grand daughter comes over and says “it’s broken, can we fix it ?”. Six months ago it would have been “it’s broken, can we buy a new one?”

        I wouldn’t be too sad. Change is happening in little corners of the world from what I can see reading replies to your blog……..

  4. I don’t understand how the villages can not be so overcrowded by now over in the UK. In Melbourne there is a rapidly increasing population and it means on weekends there is far too many people who all decide it’s a nice day for a drive up into the hills. The towns are then overcrowded with no parking etc and it ruins the atmosphere. The food is way over priced and what seems like a good idea for a nice drive turns into a nightmare. Our country is so much younger yet it’s already becoming a problem and has ruined the little towns I loved as a kid.

    1. Try no work. Economies in Britain mostly surround London. If you haven’t heard of the great North-South divide between the economics surrounding London then here it is smack in the face. London is the hub of British economics and for those like North Wales the periphery is extended and made all the worse because the money stays in the big city and gets metered out to the poor regions without creating employment as such. The country towns are places to visit with the sole economy being something we new call the industry of tourism. That is it produces food and accommodations for the people to come to and see. Craftspeople who don’t fit their lives into a London-based type economy for a hundred good reasons somehow survive in the nether lands of economy and live a lifestyle others can’t really fathom. But they don’t do it for money, they do it to stay out of the economy and out of London I suppose.

      1. Well it looks like a lovely little town. Thanks for sharing the photos. Reminds me of the escape to the country show we get on cable here in Aus. Makes me want to visit the UK one day. I live in a small town after my escape from Melbourne 5 years ago and became a full time self employed woodworker but our towns are not as, should I say photogenic. One good thing about the small cottage industry in the modern world is online sales. I’ve been doing it now for 10 years and seen it grow. I can live anywhere and chose to move to an area I could afford with my lifestyle change when I left my ‘real job’ and got out of the rat race. There is hope for small cottage craft industries in small towns if they can sell online and not just rely on tourists or markets for income.

        1. Hi andrew what you have to realize is that there a hundreds of these sort of towns over there. Not the 6 or so like Maldon and Healsville etc around Melbourne. Head out to kyabram in the north east. I can ensure you it won’t be crowded 😉

  5. If one could judge, by the pictures, by the look on their faces and the last three lines of the post, I see a man and his family that are truly blessed.

  6. You show a picture of a two handed tenon saw, have only seen one before, that was in 1963/4 when I was a was 48″ between the handles. the joiners had never seen one but the conclusion was it was for cutting 4′ sheets of ply. Can you shed some light as it as puzzled me for 50 years so you can imagine my delight when I saw the picture. I may at last get the an answer to the puzzle
    Dave Price

    1. I am afraid i can’t answer this. Ours is of a course a joke. John just slipped a handle on the opposite end and so created the illusion of a two-handed saw.

      1. Hi everyone, I’m Mick Alexander, the lucky lad who lives in Beddgelert. It’s great to see our village show through Paul’s eyes. It is a most extraordinary celebration of passion and creativity of the most ordinary kind: a beautiful hand-sewn shirt, three perfect tomatoes on a plate, every kind of cake and preservative known to woman-kind, potato cut prints submitted by the little ones. The place is swelled by visitors at present; when they go in a few weeks time it will be just the locals again. In the winter it’s very quiet, and well over half the cottages have no lights on, and no smoke curling out of the chimney pots. They are holiday lets, and retirement homes waiting for the relatively well-off people of the Midlands and the North West conurbation to come for the odd weekend. Without them there’d be no village, so no complaints. As recently as seventy years ago the people here would mine for copper, and quarry slate – Welsh slate roofed the world, they say – now they dig for tourist dollars. Come and see us sometime; it’s God’s back yard.

      2. Well maybe the puzzle will never be answered.i do remember that it was made in may of course been a sales mans prop. Thanks for the reply dave price

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