I came across Tim Allen on Twitter a while back - probably because of the wonderful Wish You Were Here project that he and his friend Pip Spratt published - and then met him for real a couple of times along with Valda Bailey. (Incidentally, Valda presented a super Potpourri here recently and has just redone her website - well worth a visit). Soon after Tim and I decided to share a weekend in Brussels and Liège last month. "Right then, I'm skipping the country with a man I met on the internet" was how Tim announced the decision :)
Here, Tim shares the story of his latest project to raise money for a charity that's special to him. Take a read, enjoy the wonderful photographs (I've added some links to the picture titles, taking you to the related pages on his own website) and then follow the link at the end of the page. For £10 you will receive a very beautiful photographic inquiry into how traditional crafts are adapting and surviving as well as help to raise funds for an extremely important cause.
Many thanks, Tim, for your dedication, commitment and friendship - let's hope you sell all the books fast!
Firstly, a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my charity book project which I’ve enjoyed working on this year. In 2013 I photographed local fairgrounds and I had the idea to have a small book made of it which I then sold to raise money for charity. I chose the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society as I’m a sufferer of the condition who is lucky enough to be responding brilliantly to treatment and wanted to give something back. After raising £450 for NASS I decided to work on another book this year, but this time the subject matter would be broader.
I’ve always appreciated good craftsmanship and after spending an afternoon doing research I found lots of interesting potential candidates for my project. 6 months later I had 5 shoots completed and produced the book which is now on sale. I’ve also decided to continue the project and have several other shoots lined up already, hopefully for my third book next year.
I’ve picked one photo from each of the 5 shoots featured in the book and written a few words about each.
My first visit was to Easthope Stained Glass Studio in Folkestone, Kent who were very welcoming and eager to explain everything they did while I was there. This photo shows Nick Easthope marking where to cut on a piece of glass that was over 500 years old. He was replacing the lead in a window from St John’s College, Cambridge and the only way to do it is to take the whole window apart, keep a diagram of how it looked then piece it all back together again!
The second photo is of Dante Zufolo of Malcolm Tysoe Ltd working on parts from a very old violin. Dante’s enthusiasm was infectious and he spent over 2 hours of his own time showing me several of the main processes he uses to restore violins. A master craftsman in every sense and a lovely guy too.
Photo 3 is slightly quirky and humorous and was taken during my visit to Alan Staley Boat Restoration, Faversham. The premises were jam packed with old boats and bits from other old boats, like a treasure trove of randomness. Many of the walls had posters or hand written witticisms and it amused me how well the instructions written on this bench were being adhered to!
My visit to Cleverley & Spencer Stonemasons in Dover was brilliant from start to finish, everyone was so friendly and eager to explain what they were doing. I spent about 5 hours there and the time flew by as I watched both new and ancient techniques being used to perfection.
Finally I visited Michael Hart, a young blacksmith with bundles of talent both in the physical side of the craft and in the design aspects. Working on his own, within a few hours he’d turned some old chainsaw blades into a knife blade with great skill.
The one common element to all of my visits was that everybody I met was so passionate about their craft and so keen to explain what they were doing as they did it. The future of these crafts is in safe hands and I can’t wait to continue the project.
For more information about my project and how to order a book, please visit here