Bowling them out

One of the marks of an extremely gifted student is someone who doesn’t suffer waste gladly, and will try to find value where others might only see rubbish.

That’s a trait exhibited by Matt Hanley, from Leominster in Herefordshire, who is creating a whole array of wooden bowls from off-cuts of wood that might otherwise have been destined for our wood-burning heaters.

But perhaps that sense of respect for our basic material reflects his background as an arboriculturalist working in, for example, the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley and the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.

While Matt understands the management of trees and woodland, he had little woodworking experience before coming to the Chippendale school.

Rather than see wood go to waste, he has created a whole family of different bowls from elm, lime, sycamore, and olive ash – all subtly different in shape and dimension, and reflecting Matt’s interest in the contours of Japanese pottery.

His beautifully lathe-turned bowls are then sanded down and finished in either walnut oil or beeswax and linseed.

Before coming to the Chippendale school, he was an instructor at an agricultural college in Hampshire, and he intends to set up his new business back in Herefordshire after graduation.

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