About Tim Gatfield
It was in the year 2000 that I first became involved with Green Woodwork - learning my skills and then helping to teach on courses with Gudrun Leitz at Clisset Wood (the story of which is told in Mike Abbot's book 'Living Wood'). Admittedly, I had something of a headstart having been a cabinet-maker using English hardwoods for 12 years prior to that, but the skills, tools and way of working are very different. I found it so much more enjoyable: no dust or noise from machinery; being able to work outdoors; using age-old techniques and know-how to produce beautiful, strong and unique chairs and furniture.
I decided to give up cabinet-making and concentrated solely on green woodworking, making traditional, freeform and wildwood chairs and teaching individuals and small groups from my workshop near Shaftesbury, Dorset.
For many years I have had a keen interest in conservation, rural and craft skills, and living in a way that is more sustainable and sympathetic with nature. It had also long been a dream to own my own woodland, and I purchased Cherry Wood near Bath in 2005 with the intention of improving and managing the wood and setting up a 'school' to teach green woodworking skills to others, and pass on the pleasure of living and working in the woods. A previous career in the army has given me valuable knowledge of bushcraft and living outdoors, which I aim to pass on to students.
All abilities are catered for - from the complete novice to those who are quite familiar with green or seasoned woodworking.
The working day is busy with many new skills to learn and practice, but there is lots of time for socialising, making new friends and sharing experiences. Teamworking is an important element of the courses and communal cooking in the evening goes a long way to promoting this!
The courses are friendly, encouraging and inspirational. I aim to give students a break from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life (no TV, phones, radio etc). They leave with new skills (as well as an artefact or piece of furniture to take home), a sense of achievement, and feeling healthy, relaxed and fulfilled after a unique experience.
I look forward to seeing you in the woods sometime soon!