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Origin of Chisels 2022

'Origin of Chisels' was a 6 week wood carving residency at Cabilla Cornwall.


Cabilla is a 200 acre multifaceted expanse of land, hosting rewilding retreats and leading the way in conservation and rewilding initiatives such as the reintroduction of Beavers.


The project was incredibly unique and presented an amazing opportunity to work with the original woodcarvers of the world; Beavers. 


With special permission, I worked with fresh, wet wood gathered considerately from the Beaver enclosure. The wood is covered in teeth marks and gnawed into shapes scattered around the woodland. It was a fascinating and immersive 6 weeks, living onsite and regularly visiting the beaver woodland to gain inspiration. I began the residency by talking to staff at Cabilla about the Beavers, learning about their building techniques and their similarities to our human way of life.

I also went down to the woodlands to write and draw whilst sometimes hiding out into the evening to observe the beavers in action! 

Beavers became extinct in the UK in the 16th Century due to humans hunting them for their fur, meat and a substance they secrete called 'Castoreum'. Castoreum has the potential to aid human health and flavour perfumes. There is now a large population living in Scotland and the numbers in the UK are slowly increasing due to similar reintroduction projects to that at Cabilla.


For more on Beavers, visit the Rewilding Britain website

For more details on the project and finished art pieces, click this link to my other website:

In light of the negative effects of Climate Change and its effects on biodiversity and communities around the world. Plus our over exposure to chemicals and health compromising substances and activities like pesticides and our addiction too screens and unhealthy life styles. There is a continued need for nature to return as our healer, teacher and leader.


As a passionate traditional crafter, I aspire to live harmoniously with the natural environment  and seasons. I wish to share ways of respectfully returning our sense of purpose and community back to the land we dwell and advocate for the sensory and medicinal benefits of being exposed to natural materials and processes. A project centred around celebrating the presence and inspiring work of a key stone species essential to progressing British woodlands into a healthy state is an incredible honour.


The whole idea of the beavers being woodcarvers got me thinking... beavers are the origin of the chisel, the wisdom keepers of woodland management, the first whittlers and architects. It is a rare opportunity for a sculpture artist who works with wood to collaborate and learn from the ancestors of sustainable woodland living and tree carving. Looking to the beavers for inspiration feels a step closer to the origins of the way we build our houses, live within an ecosystem, and create from the materials on our doorstep!​

To find out more about my process and thoughts, read an interview between myself and Cabilla here:

To find out more about Cabilla, click here:

As part of the development of this project I will be hosting an educational children's workshop at The Exchange Gallery, Penzance in February 2024.


The workshop will be a playful and creative venture where kids will have the opportunity to learn about the reintroduction of beavers through craft and play.


Book your child's place on the workshop here: Beaver Training 

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