As well as this blog, I also have a website and Instagram page with lots more images of my work as well as a few more stories.
If you like woodcarvings, you might want to have a look.

Monday 5 September 2016

Writing a blog about woodcarving and wondering: what keeps bloggers going?

jetty on the lake at Gwalia Farm, near Machynlleth in North Wales

Sometimes it is hard to find the time to keep writing blog posts. Recently, it has certainly felt that way.

It isn't due to a single reason. I'm currently giving my website a complete overhaul to bring it into the modern world after thirteen years of loyal service. A new Facebook page needs updating now and again with projects that could also be written about here. A fairly debilitating injury also kept me out of my studio for about a month and made it hard to create new work to write about (it's a lot better now though).

When looking at the stats for the blog and unexpectedly seeing thousands of hits, then realising that they are obviously Russian spambots, it can seem a bit futile carrying on putting in the research and writing time to create worthwhile posts. They are written, sent out into the void and often that is it, apart from some stats that may or may not be some form of spam. It's a feeling that I'm sure other bloggers know all too well.

But then sometimes something happens to remind you why it is worthwhile. This morning I received an email from a Dr Basman, who is writing an academic paper on the way that 'software should aspire to the vernacular and personal values of the Arts and Crafts movement'. He asked if he could cite and use images from my post about meeting the spoon carver 'Barn the Spoon'

I really appreciated being asked but it was also great to know that someone out there is interested enough to want to use material from this blog in that kind of way. I also know that a school in the US lists my post about ancient Egyptian woodworking as recommended course reading for its students.

These things make writing blog posts worthwhile. I love hearing from people who have read them and found something there of interest. A lot of original research has gone into many of these posts, much of it unavailable anywhere else on the web to my knowledge. Any gains from writing here are certainly not financial! 

So, hopefully without sounding sycophantic or schmaltzy, I just wanted to say thank you for reading my blog. I hope that you enjoy it and, if there is anything that interests you, please do feel free to get in touch. It's great to know that you're out there.

Unless you're a spambot!


  1. Always a pleasure Alistair,thanks for your post.

  2. Thank you, I hope to have some new posts for you to read soon

  3. Well, I suppose it's about where the blogger hopes to go. I initially set to writing a blog with the idea that it would be a way to 'meet' other people in a virtual sense and to communicate/exchange on different subjects. Hmmm, that didn't exactly pan out that way and from that point of view it has been a pretty dismal failure! However, just writing posts helps view the world from other angles, different countries and centuries, and actually gives a purpose to taking photos. Best of all, you get to savour things in another way, that does require time and effort, but that's so good to do when everything else these days is all sped-up, full-on, fast-delivery, present-day moment. You could compare it to creating something - anything - with your hands. It's so much easier and cheaper to just buy 'stuff', but the stuff bought gives little satisfaction in the long-run (well, depends on the stuff in question!). Why crochet, cook, carve or create anything when you just buy the desired article in pre-prepared assembly packs in cheap, easy maintenance materials? But it's about far more than simply acquiring something.
    And then as for reading other people's blogs - I love looking through their interests and thoughts without getting bogged down with the boring daily drones that make up most 'normal' conversations that you usually have in real life. Blog posts are like the conversations that you have with strangers when you travel - all-night trips spent discussing or just listening ideas and experiences that go beyond the
    specifics of work/family/friends... And you never even learn the person's name half the time! It's just great.
    My teenagers assure me wholeheartedly that blogging is totally out, but I wouldn't want to ditch this anonymous platform for in-yer-face Facebook, Instagram and the rest and have no particular interest in being 'in'.

    1. All of it very true! I really like the idea of a blog giving a point to photos: it's certainly a way to go back and study things seen all over again, with access to a means of researching and analysing them further.

      It's also interesting that blogging is 'out' now; one advantage that it has over all the other platforms that I've seen (Facebook etc.) is that the writer can go back and revise their posts with new information at any time, whereas anything on other platforms is just stuck there, spelling mistakes and all, for as long as the servers last.

      Thanks for writing your thoughts and posting them!