This project aimed to fulfil local demand for training courses using local timber and woodland resources to create products such as spoons, bowls, furniture, hazel hurdles, baskets and wild food products. Courses were run from the start of the Scheme in conjunction with the local learning centre at various locations throughout Coigach and Assynt.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Introduce the art of working with natural products to ensure that traditional crafts and skills are maintained and passed onto the next generation.
  • Reconnect people with the land and uses of the natural products.
  • Foster a desire to manage the land in order to increase local natural sources for future use.

Since 2017 a wide range of courses ran, including axe throwing, willow cord, cup carving, spoon carving, whittling, lino printing and natural arts.

A finished nature print.

Comments from participants include:

‘I attended the advanced spoon carving workshop with Chris Goodman. Chris is a great teacher. He explains all aspects of the process very well, including the choice of wood, care of tools, various techniques and most importantly- safety. He’s warm and friendly and I had a lovely day making my spoon!’

spoon carving
Carving a spoon at the workshop.

‘I was so pleased that Sandra said I was allowed to take part as I’m not a full time resident of Assynt, I have a static at Clachtoll. When I arrived the building and the tutor were completely COVID secure, I felt very comfortable. The tutor was very safety conscious and made everyone feel at ease.’

‘The spoon carving workshops were empowering and enriching on many levels, not least because it was good to make connections with other people who enjoyed similar things, but whom one might not meet in such a vast area with geographically dispersed communities. Sandra made sure the set-up was well organised, with health and safety as the top priority. The class size was perfectly calibrated to allow for safe-keeping, individualised attention and good craic. Teaching was clear and supportive, and Chris’ approach worked well across different ages and abilities. Having the use of the tools provided meant we could try out the activity before investing in our own tools. We all came away feeling socially connected, artistically inspired and personally empowered. We would certainly welcome more courses.’

‘I attended the basket making workshop with Prof Tim Palmer in November 2020. So beneficial to have such an expert as Tim on hand to advise although I am not a beginner, but always needing help with new techniques. These workshops are extremely good fun and worthwhile as impossible to get help otherwise. Also it is a useful skill to have when all the material you might need is to hand in the area and I’m now growing some of my own in the garden.’

The beautiful basket made at the course

Project timeline

Related category


Nature Printing Workshop a Success!

On the 12th November the Woodland Artisan Project hosted Nature printing with Anne Roberts in Achiltibuie. All that attended had a fantastic time. Here are some pictures of the wonderful

Wooden Tom’s Spoon Carving Photos

On the 10th of October, Wooden Tom returned to hold another popular spoon carving course. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there myself (Missed another spoon carving session! One day I will

Woodland Artisan: Cup Carving in June

Guest Blog: Chris Goodman, Assynt Woods I’m having to restrain myself. My cup’s been sitting in a bag with some wood shavings for 5 days now, slowly drying, and I


Project partners

Funding partners