When the world turns to mass production the craftsman, if he’s left to live another day, becomes élite, very special and able to command his price. One such astute, happy, genial and highly accomplished craftsman is Bill Blair who has kept alive old skills since 1997.
His workshop is one of the well-known Red Sheds of Oamaru Harbour where, under the name Coppice Crafts, he makes trug baskets, wooden hay rakes and wooden pitch forks using hand tools such as draw knives and side axes.
He gathers his materials, typically willow, for the trugs and tool handles, from the local country and his products are outstandingly well fashioned for it would be beneath his dignity to offer anything less than his best.
As I said, he’s genial. He loves a chat and he’s full of the history of his town (including the story of Scott’s Last Expedition which was the subject of a previous post on this blog).
© DON DONOVAN