Green Woodwork and Sustainability

I believe the starting point for any attempt at a sustainable community is to explore the existing resources of that community and develop effective strategies to maximise their usefulness for that community. This includes methods that will care for, maintain and maximise the natural life of those identified resources and the ecologies they are connected to.

At Plan-It Earth Eco Project we have lots of willow and hazel coppice that has been poorly managed in the past (or neglected) as no one person has dedicated the time needed to manage the resource over successive years. It is quite a commitment to become a coppicer as you need to get the trees into a coppice cycle and the crop takes 1, 2 or 3 years (or longer!) to come to harvest. How many people in this age of instant gratification can wait 3 years before they even begin to make the chair they have in their mind? Much easier to go out and buy the wood, make the chair and sell it in a few weeks.

However, for me the chair in the above example is simply the end product. The relationship built with the trees themselves, and the ecologies they are connected to, is the real goal. Out of this relationship new and surprising methods of economic production are created to the benefit of the trees, ecologies and the human community.

After spending the Winter and Spring cutting, snedding and sorting the willow it is time to look at what we can create out of the wood we have. There are varying sizes and quality of wood as much of the coppice has been cut over the Winter months to bring it back into rotation. After a great ‘Meeting of Minds’ with Rachel and David Smart Knight (who own Plan-It Earth Eco Project, the following projects were suggested for developing a work plan for the Summer months.

 

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