It’s widely acknowledged that engaging with the arts and crafts boosts mental wellbeing. Recent research published by University College London’s MARCH mental health network – formed in 2018, with members including the Crafts Council and the Museums Association – shows that ‘engaging with the visual arts can reduce reported anxiety and stress hormones such as cortisol,’ says the report’s author, Dr Daisy Fancourt.
We’re always on the lookout for the next generation of makers, passionate about supporting traditional crafts and processes. We were thrilled to discover that one of our colleagues from our Gloucester Farmshop, Matt Force, who has worked with us for just over 2 years, has been perfecting his craft as a woodworker from his shed at home. We discovered his beautiful chopping boards, when he attended one of ‘The Makers Meetup’ events at Gloucester Services back in July.
Matt began working with wood at age 14 when he discovered the joy of hand building guitars at a local community workshop. He is now 19 and builds guitars alongside beautiful serving boards, hand turned wooden bowls and tools. We stopped by at Matt’s House for a cup of tea, to see his humble yet highly productive workspace, proving that you don’t need a fancy established studio space to produce wonderful craft pieces.
“It’s been a hectic few weeks/months but I’ve just about completed an order of 60 serving boards for Gloucester Services, Rheged and Tebay Services” explained Matt. ”It’s a great feeling to see my products featured among so many other great makers.”
Matt’s chopping and serving boards are primarily made of solid African Paduak and Ash. African Paduak, native to central and tropical west Africa, from Nigeria east to Congo-Kinshasa and south to Angola. It’s vibrant reddish hue, often confused with stained timber, is 100% natural.
Matt also uses Purpleheart. It has a creamy white/gray sapwood but like its name suggests, the heartwood is a bright, striking purple when freshly cut, darkening into a deeper purple with age. It has a medium to fine texture with a luster that ranges from medium to high; its grain is usually straight but can be wavy or irregular.
Combined with the ash, it makes for a striking combination. The timber is hand selected for density, the appearance of the grain, and durability, making them perfect as an extremely durable and long lasting serving board.
Find Matt’s boards in our Farmshop now!