The children had left home, started careers, married and the first grandchild had been born. Looking back, I could still see myself in all the family celebrations and events. The family photographs told many stories, not least the houses I had renovated with B. The woodworking tools were now laid carefully in drawers and I began to ponder.
I picked up a chisel and mallet and carved a full-size rocking horse for our first grandchild. Then a name plate for her bedroom door, followed by some bookends. B said I should make some of these as gifts for friends.
Then there was Grandpa Mick’s stool which gave us the idea for Indigenous Tree.
It was the start of another family journey from being the mother who would fix anything that was broken to a full-scale design and build business. I had trained in mechanical engineering and this had me taught me design and function. I wanted to make wooden gifts that were original, high quality, personalised and would be passed down to the next generation. They had to have both a design that was pleasing to the eye and be functional.
It took 2 years to find the suppliers of all the different species of timber often from remote parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Followed by the design and making of the initial range of gifts. I was helped by many friends who would critique my designs and make suggestions.
New wood working skills had to be learned, problems with design and build overcome and all the challenges of setting up a new business met. At the same time children living several hundreds of miles away had to be visited and loved.
Renovating a house was a large project, making one wooden heirloom gift is a small project but then I had to complicate matters and make 30 different ones and launch Indigenous Tree.
Being in the workshop surrounded by tools and making something which will be given as a gift with love is a wonderful way to spend the day.
PS. Not forgetting B – I haven’t made the journey alone. Whilst pursuing his full time career B found time to design some of the gifts, help overcome construction challenges, build a second workshop and come with me on my travels around the UK to track down the suppliers of timber. He has a love for the countryside and can make just about anything in wood. Throughout he encouraged me to grow Indigenous Tree.