“…I also feel strongly that I am able to extend the life of those trees, often probably, for longer than the trees previous life.”

Retired farmer Peter Thomas is exhibiting with Trevor Ball, retired gamekeeper/woodsman, this year in Rampisham. They are dedicated to promoting British timber, using woodturning to produce organic, artistic, functional works that evolve on the lathe. Working in this way allows the wood to express its “living” interior and exhibit Nature's wonderful and varied bounty. By only using wood from dead, storm damaged trees, or necessary surgery, sustainability is guaranteed. The heritage craft of stick dressing is practiced, producing walking and working sticks.

Who are you, and what is your artistic practice?

I am Peter Thomas, a retired farmer, devoted to a rural way of life, loving the countryside in all its forms. A logical and natural extension, with limited spare time, was to engage in working with wood from local sustainably grown trees, in my case it took the form of woodturning and the heritage craft of stick dressing, having always made my own shepherds crooks.

My overriding passion and objective, is to highlight, share and make people aware of, Nature’s beauty that is hidden within the wood. Hence my title and use of the name:“Livingwood” an organic material that in its many forms, never dies.So often, with today’s fast paced living, the beauty and importance of our countryside and its resources are lost, to the detriment of everyone and increasingly that of our planet. I have in a way a mission, to share, make aware of, and bring to people’s attention the wondrous bounty Nature has given us. I endeavour to do this by creating organic artistic as well as functional work that highlights these points.

What are your inspirations? Is there something about Dorset that influences your work?

I never have a preconceived idea as to what a log of wood will become. Once starting work, I let each piece evolve, letting the wood express itself, through flaws, colours and malformations that are present within the wood. By always working with wood from dead, or storm damaged trees I also feel strongly that I am able to extend the life of those trees, often probably, for longer than the trees previous life.

Living in West Dorset I feel privileged to be surrounded by this wonderful bounty, and almost feel it is a duty to share, highlight and bring to people’s attention something which, if not cherished could so easily be lost.

How has this pandemic affected or influenced your practice?

Being retired and living where I do, I am so fortunate that the pandemic has had a lot less impact on me than it has for others less fortunate. On a very positive note, I have still been able to work, create and pursue my quest of unveiling Nature’s beauty.

In fact, by creating a website with an online shop and sharing it with a friend Trevor Ball (a retired gamekeeper/ woodsman, who shares my aspirations), I am still able to share my passion with the public, although there is no substitution for being able to interact with the public in my gallery or at exhibitions.

What are you most looking forward to at Dorset Art Weeks this year? Are there any projects that you are particularly excited to showcase?

With regard to this year’s Art Weeks and with reference to the last point, being able to open my gallery and workshop with pre booked visits, observing COVID rules, will at last bring back a semblance of normality and allow me to continue to “deliver my message”!

You can visit Peter and Trevor’s venue 10am – 6pm by booking an appointment.

Visit Peter and Trevor’s venue page on the DAW Directory for more information on times and location | Here

Visit The Livingwood website | Here