Wood festival draws an appreciative crowd

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Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

The Inspiration of Wood Festival, which took place over two days last weekend, attracted a healthy crowd of admirers to the Corrie and Sannox Village Hall.

Ferry cancellations owing to high winds, combined with cold temperatures and rain, could not deter the visitors but it did mean that some of the outdoor activities, such as wood milling and chainsaw carving, did not go ahead.

Indoors, however, there was more than enough to keep visitors entertained with numerous displays and woodworking crafts available for people to see.

Arran’s most well-known wood carvers and sculptors – Marvin Elliott, Robert Coia and Henry Murdo – showcased some of their work while dispensing useful advice, tips and tricks and invited visitors to have a go at carving themselves.

Visitors, young and old, used a mallet and chisel and chipped away at a large wooden warthog under the watchful eye of Henry, who encouraged the visitors to not be too gentle.

Another wealth of useful information, amusing anecdotes and interesting conversation could be found in the far corner of the hall in the form of Stuart Gough who is an avid collector of wood working tools.

Stuart has a love of the craftsmanship that went into creating tools in years gone by and the evidence of years and years of use, and its patina, is what attracts him to collect the tools that he has amassed.

Some of the tools are incredibly collectible as they belong to trades now long gone, such as those used in boat building, and others which are now only manufactured using plastic.

And, as for his most prized tool, that honour goes to his grandfather’s screwdriver that he inherited, a small wood and brass creation that has seen decades of work and that exudes old fashioned charm.

The festival provided visitors with a seldom-experienced opportunity to meet and talk to so many varied crafts people, from sculptors and furniture makers to sign makers and pyrographers.

Equally, it provided wood workers with a valuable opportunity to discuss tools, suppliers and working methodologies among like-minded people.