There have been many times in my life I have not listened to my intuition and later regretted it however when the universe gives you a big nudge, it is difficult to ignore. I had been taking the occasional woodcarving class at Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire (they do lots of courses - worth checking out their website at www.knustonhall.org - the food is amazing too!) and after taking voluntary redundancy in 2016 I decided to take the summer off and then find work in the autumn. I also wanted to do more woodcarving so contacted the college to see if it was possible and sadly it wasn't but I was invited for an interview for a part time BTEC course in Art and Design. During the meeting I showed some photos of my carvings and was asked if I would be interested in doing a full time HNC/D course, I would need to come back for another interview towards the end of the summer so had plenty of time to think about it.
It hadn't really been my intention to return to college so I really was in two minds about whether to apply or not but decided I could apply, find out more at the interview and then make a decision.
Fate however clearly had other ideas.
During a four day course down in Glastonbury studying the divine feminine, I got chatting to one of the other attendees about my carvings, a lady called Vanessa, and she asked me if I had many tools. Sadly woodcarving is not a cheap craft with even second hand tools being expensive and so I said unfortunately not hence my desire to attend a course whereby I could use the tutors tools. She then asked me if I would be interested in her late Grandfather's tools and I excitedly said that I would be very interested and asked how much was she selling them for. When she told me that they didn't want any money, they just wanted them to go to a good home where they would be used and not sold on for profit, I have to admit I became rather emotional. That someone I had only just met could give me a gift so valuable really touched me and I was overwhelmed by her generosity.
It took a few months for me to be able to collect the tools from Vanessa, some of which didn't have handles which I later learned was because they had never been used. My tutor (Peter Schwartz) showed me how to turn handles for the chisels and sharpened the other ones for me.
This was the nudge I needed to follow my heart and not my head. I was concerned about my interview, I had a few paintings to show and a couple of carvings but not really very much by way of a portfolio. Fortunately I was offered a place and the rest, as they say, is history.