Tom Winfield

Tom Winfield Follow

Wood, design, build.
Homo Faber 🔨
South Devon

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At the hive entrance fresh night air and falling mists point to winters edge already. The 1½ inch thick solid wood walls should insulate anyone huddling together inside. Meanwhile, over at the big house, they've probably got brandy and the fire on.
#autumn #landscape #september #fall
Repost @aadesignandmake. What a faultless pitch! Talking about the amalgam of possibilities, spans, and geometries possible with cross-laminated timber in February this year. Today images released of the 207m tall twisted skeleton of the ZHA Leeza Soho tower in Beijing, using a claimed 3000 tonnes of steel. Concrete and steel are no less 'natural' in my view, made by the great apes (us), but I hope Alex @drmmarchitects is right.

Andrew Waugh @waughthistletonarchitects talking about Murray Grove in Hackney the world's tallest modern timber residential building when it completed in 2009, said this in @dezeen a few months back: "I feel like the more parametric, bizarre, shape-making architecture is a ridiculous obsession of 20th century architects. We have issues around us such as climate change and massive housing shortages, so the architecture profession needs to be celebrating ideas of sustainability and great buildings, not ridiculous shapes." Amen.

#timberisthenewconcrete #timberconstruction
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
'The Song of Wandering Aengus' by W. B. Yeats

#life #yeats #beech #arborist #tree #forest
English ash low table.

Because I made this over a few months I came back to it again and again, sometimes forgetting what I had done. All the legs are tapered in both planes, except for one. Three out of four is not bad? I could give myself a hard time about that, now they are lapped and wedged in to the mortice, there is nothing I can do about it. God forbid I make mistakes and allow the real time evolution of design to happen. I can be obsessed with the perfect, the sanitised, whitewashed jewel, frozen in time.

There is beauty in that flaw. Character in the evidence of my journey.

And thanks for the mirror @0tab0y

#slowdesign #slowmaking #perfectionisnotanaim #wabisabi
I have been quoted in this month's @granddesignsmag along with a recent @outofthevalley_ build. I was asked about the appeal of cabin retreats, here is my full response: "Yes. Cabin living is a call to step back and simplify. Our over-connected culture is continually longing for more solitude, more time in nature, a higher quality of connection. I have spent long periods living off-grid and in cabins so I speak from experience and passion. For me it is warming to know that these human needs are being valued and that we are able to somehow facilitate. On the other hand, it is sad that not everyone can afford the nourishment of retreating to dwell in such spaces. The estuary cabin is more public, but usually we work far from the track and that means stepping lightly on unsettled land that wants to confront us with merely the essentials of life." Land is calling us in to a reciprocal relationship at those moments when it "wants to confront us with merely the essentials of life"; in the woods, in a tent in the summer rain, out on a warm calm sea glimpsing back at the cliffs. Gracefully calling us back in an attempt to heal the divide of separation and displacement. To reunite us with place. How do we move over and dwell on (develop) land in a way that honours that invitation?

Ten years ago architect Roger Zogolovitch wrote about 'development as art', as a creative and playful act. It is unlikely that notion will solve the housing crisis, and I do not judge any of his work to constitute art, but I welcome the connection he makes. Linking the aesthetic dimension of life, the territory of the heart, imagery, story, and metaphor to what, where, and why we build. Especially because art is not subject to purposeful, language based, and CAD bound conscious rationality that is running the whole show in to the ground right now. It is also why I am such a proponent of design+make as a full-bodied way to design. One that has space for people to make mistakes, break free from numerical control, be flamboyant, and evolve out of the surroundings.

In short, I see the potential of building these tiny spaces as much more than just wellbeing top-ups or home value-adders.
The support of a loving partner is priceless isn't it? We've had a tough but vital time recently; moving, deaths, sickness, relics of the past crossing the floor to ask for a dance, the leathery shields of old personhoods falling away.

But they say laugh and cry together don't they?... Because lips that have tasted the salt of tears always give the sweetest kiss.


#death #decay #love #gratitude #wisdom
Glue up on a little strictly hand tools only project. Devon ash and walnut. I love the half-lap detail of the legs visible in the wedged tenon.

It has been quite a while since posting due to the minor act of moving home. Feeling again ancestral stories of migration and hauling out all those old boxes of things I thought I had left behind somewhere. But they follow you round don't they? Trying to clear and simplify my space I wonder if, maybe a result of my continual making, that I might be driven to a kind of production balance, as if in a cycle of natural decay that inclines me to ultimately own nothing whatsoever!

Although I don't suffer that so greatly when well made, well considered, things are being born in to life. Living objects that come with a story, with pride, with an intrinsic joy in hand crafted imperfections that "maintain by their very nature a direct link to the human heart." ― Yanagi Sõetsu

We are only borrowing this stuff of life after all.

Move complete, back soon.

#furniture #furnituredesign #cabinetmaking

Stone building attached to the wooden water mill built in 1883. This site has housed a succession of woolen mills since 1550.

#detail #doorway #stone #proportion #wool #watermill
"To be natural is to be holy; but it is very difficult to be natural. To be natural is to be at home with your own nature. If you are outside yourself, always reaching beyond yourself, you avoid the call of your own mystery. When you acknowledge the integrity of your solitude and settle into your own mystery, your relationships with others take on a new warmth, adventure, and wonder."
- John O’Donohue in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
A room above the byre.
Install of my second beehive design, hope the client scouts like it! 🐝
Warré inspired 1"½ thick cedar boxes with chestnut keys, walnut entrance slab, sheep's wool quilt, solid slate roof. Another playful and generous design & make with @thewayislinedwithtrees.
#warrehive #walnut #cedar #wood #woodworking #wool
"Every farm woodland, in addition to yielding lumber, fuel and posts, should provide its owner a liberal education. This crop of wisdom never fails, but is not always harvested."
- Aldo Leopold in 'A Sand Country Almanac', 1949

Maybe the highlight of the trip, meeting the descendants of this remote Scots pine forest in Glen Affric. Once part of the great boreal forests, a vast primeval wilderness of pine and birch, which spread over Europe and Asia about 9000 years ago as the ice receded and the land link from Britain to Europe severed. Home to moose, beaver, eagle, bear, wolf.

90% of British woodland has been cleared by man in the last 4,500 years of settlement and agriculture. The widespread free range stocking and grazing of sheep and cattle means new saplings become food, nothing replaces old trees like this one. Barely an acre of these isles can have escaped their bite. Devoid of shelter, nourishing leaf fall, and root holding, the horizon becomes a treeless wildernesses, often artificially preserved for the sake of livestock, game, or nostalgia.

The charity Trees for Life are doing amazing conservation and restoration of depleted ecosystems here, starting with the plants and trees. But it is not just about more trees and wildness, it is as much about reverence, play, and all the sense making we do amongst them... as Aldo reminds me.

#tree #trees #treesforlife #rewilding #deepecology