Hidden away behind an ancient stone cottage, sitting high above the Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, old-school craftsmanship is hard at work.
Poised on the hill, with breath taking views over one of Sheffield’s loveliest valleys, the products from this tiny workshop are introducing quiet beauty to people’s homes. Or at least those in the know.
As ancient artefacts are restored to their former glory and single pieces of timber are turned into an assortment of woodland animals, this industrious idyll is the perfect hideaway for woodcarver Nick Hunter. It’s the most enchanting time warp and refreshingly far from any modern production line.
When he’s not carving something beautiful and personal for a customer’s bespoke kitchen or piece of furniture, or something spectacular for a stately home, Nick’s talents turn to creating the sweetest and most treasured hand-crafted wooden birds.
Somehow, through his observation of the wildlife around him, Nick replicates a uniqueness in the beauty of each hand carved and hand painted bird, even down to the twinkle in their eyes. He patiently and meticulously gives these little birds the individuality and character that brings them to life. Whether it be a goldcrest or a kingfisher, a blue-tit or an owl, Nick carves each little feathered creature from a small block of wood using a style of naivety and a simplicity of colour that makes every species hard not to adore.
As he captures the essence of each individual breed with its poise and expression, he highlights the sweet gentle nature of my personal favourite, the round robin. As the perfect Christmas present, they’re impossible to resist.
At this time of year there’s a demand for special commissions from Nick and he loves the opportunity to research and create unusual breeds on request. With a background in traditional decorative carving and his precise skill in hand-cut lettering, Nick is able to personalise each bird's perch with initials or dates, giving any sculpture a truly individual touch.
As these long-established and traditional skills are becoming lost in an age where we are surrounded by mass production and it seems that ‘fine craftsmanship’ refers to the level of intelligence of a machine, this hidden gem with these stunning little birds prove that the quality, detail and longevity of a product is still significant and continues to be appreciated across our city.
For me, this unique little workshop is a stand-alone cavern of tranquillity full of patience and concentration as each craftsman spends hours, days or even weeks producing a single element of each of their still-life sculptures. Nick’s calm nature and genuine love to hand-create pieces of 3D artwork will forever be admired by those who appreciate something special and understand the importance of thought, patience and skill.
My Fathers Heart has the privilege of housing a small collection of these little creatures throughout November and December. They sit perfectly in and amongst our own handmade furniture and, when you forget they’re there, a little beak peeking out from behind a kitchen cabinet raises a smile every time.
Come and view this unique little collection of feathered friends at My Fathers Heart, authentically handmade in Sheffield with love.