The short answer is, my parents back room. If you want a longer but thrilling explanation of how I ended up there, do continue. If not then thanks for clicking and please exit through the gift shop.
When I started out on this venture, I thought wood carving would be perfect as a small business for a number of reasons. One being that I was always good with using wood, another being that to carve small spoons you don't need many tools, and also that I won't need much space to work in as all I need is a few pieces of wood and some carving equipment. How wrong I was!
The only thing I got right was that I knew I would be good at working with wood. I have more wood in my workshop now than there is running through the rest of the house. As far as equipment goes, it seems as if there is something new and improved out each week! So the idea of just using a small desk in the corner of a room soon expanded to a small desk in a room full, floor to ceiling with boxes, wood, equipment and rubbish I thought might be useful at some point but instead is just balancing more wood and equipment.
I started off innocently chipping away at our back door, perching myself on the step with wood in one hand and my axe in the other. All I can say is that that didn't last very long. I don't know if you remember but winter time can be wet and cold so working outside with sharp objects wasn't my brightest ideas. The natural next step was looking at studios. Having come from an art school background we were warned about the cost of studio spaces but if I'm honest, I never paid much attention to anything my tutors told me so inevitably was in a bit of shock when my best option was cupboard under the stairs that I would have to take out a mortgage for... and that was before I had worked out the cost of employing Sherpas to help me get there every day.
Thankfully, I have very understanding parents (I mean you would have to be to let your son go to an Art School at £10,000 a year) who offered me a small room on the top floor of their house. 'Lock him away up there and we won't even know he's here' is what I imagine they thought. I wasn't the only one wrong about how much space I needed! Remember I mentioned earlier about floor to ceiling with all sorts? I wasn't specific about which room or how many rooms I use because it just so happens that it seems to be happening in every room of the house. I like to think I'm paying them back with an education in wood, but I actually imagine that they are sick of the sight of big boards and wood chipping surrounding every corner of the house.
I'm now 6 months down the line, I have put together a wonderful workshop with almost every piece of equipment you could ever need and I'm pretty happy there. It's a shame that this is the way that things have to be for many makers in London, relying on caring family to support them with accommodation or space to fulfill a dream and a career. Hopefully one day I can get out of my parents back room and into my own space where I can help someone else trying to bring their skill to the wide world.