Making Uncovered: Ben Willis

ben2At Making Uncovered, furniture maker Ben Willis will demonstrate how beautiful pieces of furniture can be crafted from wood in its rawest form, straight from the tree. As well as demonstrating a range of woodworking techniques, Ben will offer short taster sessions in turning wood on a foot-operated lathe.

Tell us a bit about your work.
ben3I’m a green woodworker – that’s to say, I make furniture and other objects such as spoons and bowls out of unseasoned or ‘green’ wood. It’s an amazing way of working with wood; the fact the wood is still full of moisture means it’s soft and able to be worked with quiet and dust-free hand tools rather than lots of big messy machines. The techniques I use are millennia old.

My main speciality is making chairs. There’s something I find utterly addictive about this. One on level, chairs are such everyday items, but a sculptural, hand-crafted chair can be such a presence in a room – it has a character and life of all of its own and there’s nothing I find more rewarding than bringing one into being.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered?
I was part of the organising team last year, and the event was such a success that I wanted to be part of it again. It’s great to be part of such a positive team and to put on such a colourful event.

Apart from that, I just love demonstrating what I do and talking to people about it. Green wood crafts aren’t something you see everyday in an urban environment, so being able to show them to a new audience is always fun.

What will you be doing at Making Uncovered?
ben1I’m going to have a couple of my pedal-powered lathes on the go. One I’ll be using for demonstrations, showing people how I fashion parts for chairs and other items. Then the other one will be free for people to come and have a go.

I’m doing this rather sign-up workshops as I did last year. I enjoyed doing that last time, but I want to give more people a go this year so have opted for a less structured approach. I’m certain I’ll have found a few more green woodwork converts by the end of the day!

Ben will be letting visitors “have a go” throughout the day at Making Uncovered. No need to book – just turn up. Get your free ticket to Making Uncovered here.


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