Along with JoJo Wood, we are lucky enough to be joined on our journey by these wonderful people. They will be working in their regions, with others in their area, and helping us use craft to help with peoples mental health, their physical health, and use craft to make a postive change.
David Edwards, West Midlands
As a result of work pressures in late 2017 my partially filled ‘mental health bucket’ over flowed resulting in being signed off from work for 6 months with a diagnosis of anxiety.
During my phased return I was subjected to a situation driven by the Managing Director on the subject of mental health awareness which showed little/no awareness and I felt it was directed towards my condition leaving me humiliated and being diagnosed with Chronic Anxiety Disorder, Myoclonus, anxiety driven stamma, 18 months off work and, ultimately, resulted in being medically severed in July 2019.
Medication and CBT counselling made a small dent in my mental state but It wasn’t until I rediscovered whittling, from my Scouting days, that things changed.
I found carving wood absorbing and whilst I was doing it all other aspects of life disappeared. The end product wasn’t any good as I had no real idea of what I wanted to carve; so I hit the internet for inspiration. There I found a new world of spoons, treen, bowls, kuksas and the whole sloyd community. I instantly ordered a hook knife to enable me to try to carve my first spoon.
With the aid of newly acquired hook knife, I began my spoon carving journey. With the aid of many YouTube videos and unsuccessful attempts, I was starting to get somewhere. More importantly, I felt less anxious whilst I was doing it and for an increasing period after each carving session – It became about the journey and not the destination.
Finding Spoonfest in 2019 enabled me to embed myself in a world of like minded individuals, many with a similar life journey, and provided me with my first face-to-face tuition. The journey continued with a new vigour and its effects were lasting longer, relieving me of more and more of my anxiety.
I don’t know how I found Pathcarvers, but I am so glad I did. Finding out that they had a weekly carving club gave me a weekly goal to achieve and be in a community: not only of those with a love of carving wood but those with similar life experiences.
As a result of Pathcarvers I have explored many different avenues of green wood carving, including building my own shave horse and pole lathe. Most importantly, the self care and community has aided me to stabilise my mental health to a point where I could commit myself to the process of applying for jobs and going to interviews.
A long time ago I thought that the stigma of male mental health needed readdressing and would be very open about my condition. I found it easy to link conversations about carving to my mental health condition and vice versa. As a result, others have become more open about their mental health and some have come to terms that they too have a mental health condition & sort help for their issues.
The forum of Pathcarvers carving club enabled me to strengthen my mental health toolbox, regain employment and find something I really enjoy doing. These simple reasons are why I have accepted the offer of becoming a Pathcarvers trustee to aid the delivery of their good work to many more individuals experiencing a difficult path through life, and hopefully help them find the solace I have found.
Rosie Mockford, Gloucestershire
Rosie was drawn to green woodwork when she started spending more time in nature and became obsessed with spoon carving as soon as she carved her first green wood spoon.
With no previous woodworking background, Rosie was supported by her father – an experienced woodworker – who helped her to acquire the tools she needed to newfound passion for green wood spoon carving. Rosie was then offered a space on a spoon carving course by Dave Cockcroft who wanted to support more women to get into woodworking. She then became an assistant on some of his courses, learning a huge amount from him before running her own both independently and as a rural skills tutor for Cotswolds National Landscape. She is also exploring and developing skills in the endangered greenwood craft of pole lathe bowl turning. She always loves to learn from others and has fortunately had opportunity to learn with some professional spoon carvers whom she really respects.
She quickly understood the therapeutic benefits of craft and in particular green wood spoon carving and, as a nurse, is delighted to be persuing this area through her work with Pathcarvers. She always has fun whilst supporting and empowering others through the simple craft of spoon making and hopes her enthusiasm inspires others.
Mike Sattersthwaite, West Midlands
Mike is a hugely skilled woodworker and craftsperson who is lending his expertise and ideas in bringing Pathcarvers to more people here with us in Birmingham
Sean Tillett, Kent
I started carving spoons over a decade ago, coming to this from an outdoor/Bushcraft background, spending years carving around a camp fire.
I started to bring the woods home when life stopped me being able to get to the woods.Now I teach in person and online under the name STiR Woodcraft.
I have also worked for a decade in a therapeutic care home, and before that as a community support worker helping build sustainable local community groups.
Sarah Waters, West Midlands
From growing up on the Hundred Acre Wood to being an avid Bushcrafter, Sarah has enjoyed the outdoors and crafting all her life.
Through her career in nursing, and her own mental health journey following a serious car accident more than 20 years ago, Sarah has found and promotes, ecotherapy for holistic health.