Driving past Blandford on a misty, miserable and dusky night I was drawn to a couple of caravans parked up on the verge. I realised a bit late that these were the travelling wood carvers that I had been hunting for a while and failing miserably. Doubling back at the next roundabout I pulled up and looked around the wood carvings on display, dragging Jake (15) with me who used words like "cool" which would normally only be associated with x-box games.
I was met by Oscar, who explained he had only just started in the trade, previously carving as a hobby before deciding to do this full time. He said his mate had been carving a lot longer and pointed to the next caravan.
I introduced myself to Ash, explaining I had been looking for him ever since seeing his work on the roundabout in Wareham. "That was my mate" he explained, which seemed to be the theme of the night. He went on to say that there were a number of wood carvers that travelled the country, staying for a few days at each location, long enough to sell a few items to passing drivers, who may return after a number of drive by's, but not long enough to be seen as a nuisance. Ash explained as he smoked his e-cigarette that some people assume the worse, thinking he might break into houses or leave piles of rubbish. It had not even occurred to me to make the connection, what I was seeing was a skilled and talented craftsman sharing his craft with anyone lucky enough to stumble past him. I almost jokingly asked if he had a website and I'm not sure why I assumed he wouldn't, thinking that connectivity may be a problem. Yes he said and I was later to find it is actually very good and gave me a insight to someone who is a master of his art.
The pieces on display were a mixture of sizes and complexity, from the small mushrooms, to collections of owls, bears, rabbits, giraffes and both mine and jakes favorite, the wizard. You can find Ash's website including a few tips on how to start carving and some great shots of Ash's work.