I started working with wood at the start of the millennium as a way of relaxing. Initially, I taught myself how to make electric guitars, then after a while I began to make chairs and other pieces of furniture.
In January 2015, I bought my first Jubilee wood lathe. When it arrived from the north of Scotland, it turned out to be a pallet of parts from similar looking machines that did not fit together, a three phase motor and no wiring. After several months, the machine was assembled, wired and fully operational. My time in the workshop became focussed exclusively on learning how to turn wooden bowls.
The following January, I bought a Graduate Bowl Lathe from Peter Nelson, a professional turner the other side of the Pennines. Over the coming months I took two lessons with Peter and I completed a couple of days training on using chainsaws safely.
At this time my professional role was as a post doctoral researcher. I conducted the first ethnographic fieldwork on how academic knowledge is used in Whitehall, and researched how academic knowledge can be more successfully co-produced with non-academics. I became increasingly interested in how I use new knowledge, such as learning how to turn wood, and in essence I became my own research subject
In January 2017 I started VDH WoodWorks and started woodturning full-time. I began attending local fairs and markets around Sheffield. In 2018 I took part in Open Up Sheffield and Hepworth Wakefield Summer Fair and later their Christmas Market.
I also began to work very closely with other makers and artists and started "Call and Response" as a way of engaging others in collaboration.