September 2020

Yes, we have technically just tiptoed into October but maybe that means there will be another Ones to Watch blog later this month too!

Here at OnlyWillow we believe variety is the spice of life. So far, we have introduced you to four very different companies and crafters. If you missed them or want a refresh, click the links below…

May; South Lakes Aromatherapy

June; @Millie_yoga

July; LucyJoyArtist

August; Clay on Words

Today, we are introducing a very new company, TFWoodwork and the owner and crafter Thomas Fielden.

Bottle opener made from an upcycled whiskey barrel

I have been wood turning as a hobby for a good few years now, but when I lost two jobs due to the whole corona situation, I decided it was time to go it alone and start selling the things that I was making. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if it was about making money or just preventing the masses of pieces I make from piling up around the house.

Skateboard Ring; photo by @mikeyhall_visuals

I’m pushing myself to make anything I can from reclaimed and recycled materials. I started with pens made from a variety of different woods and bottle openers made from reclaimed whiskey barrel wood, but after a commission from a friend, I’ve begun making rings from recycled skateboard decks. The decks are made from coloured Canadian Maple, which is renowned for its strength and durability but also adds some bold colours to the designs. I also salvaged some beautiful Mahogany from a school renovation in Denby Dale, which has a new lease of life as a coffee table.

I do all my wood turning in my cellar in Huddersfield, where I use only renewable and natural resources in the pieces I make and use Carnauba wax to gloss the wood to a high shine.

Always enjoyed turning and making things but never had the opportunity to use it as a form of income before, so I decided there was no time like the present. I launched my Etsy store on September 10th 2020, so it’s still very shiny and new, but I’ve had a lot of positive response so far and it’s keeping me busy.

So far, I’ve been trying to give old, unused materials a new lease of life. I don’t often know what I’m going to make until I’m stood in front of the lathe. My other hobby and passion is skateboarding and since I had a stack of old well-used decks, I decided to make use of them in a new way. I have given quite a few decks away to those in need, in hindsight maybe I should have been a bit more frugal and kept more for myself as now I am on a hunt for a decent supply of worn out skate decks. Guess I really am a crafter now I have the hoarding bug.

My favourite part of the process is finishing the pieces. Some parts take quite a bit of work to apply and polish the finish. My skateboard rings for example take quite a bit of work to achieve the smooth gloss finish that I want to get, there’s a lot of sanding down, coats of finish and time that goes into each piece, so to see the end result looking as you want it is very satisfying.

The trickiest part for me so far has been the minefield that is Etsy and Insta. Making things is easy in comparison to having to keep on top of social media and what not, so that is something I’m still getting used to and improving.

Pen barrel made from a skateboard deck

With being so new, I have loads of ideas and designs I want to make. I’m not sure where my next project or commission could take me. I have an Epoxy Side table in the pipeline that is going to be combining Yew and a solid black Epoxy resin to fill in the gaps and hopefully create something really eye catching as well as more rings, pens and in time for Christmas, I will be getting out some straight razors and some badger hair shaving brushes to match.

A selection of pen barrels

We want to congratulate Tom on taking the plunge and combining his passion and skills into a new business venture! We know how daunting it can be in the early days and hope you will all show some love and support. You can visit his Etsy to check out the range of products on offer. Tom will also do commission work so get in touch to discuss your design ideas. Head over to Tom’s Instagram to check out his latest pieces and processes.

Credit to @mikeyhall_visuals for some of the photography used in todays blog.

Stay Safe and Shop Local and Small where you can.

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Written by Siobhan Green.