It is always tough getting back to work after the carnival, I'm usually very, very tired and on a real downer after the highs of the weekend. This year I've been really lucky, I've had a truly lovely job to get back to. Some letter carving for an entrance feature at the National Trust's visitor centre at Birling Gap.
The Elm which I'm working on is prepared and ready for me to start on (after I paid my respects at my village war memorial) Monday and is at 'Frog Firle' just outside Alfriston- there is some truly awful places to work in the world!
Here's a close up on the work in progress. The planks are elm felled due to Dutch Elm desease and the work the local authority is doing to save the uneffected trees still untouched along our coast- so this plank has never been out of the cuckmere valley- felled, milled, finished and carved all within a mile of where it grew- now that is how I like to work!
The view I enjoyed while having my lunch....
Here's another view of Frog Firle Farm- it really is a beautiful place to work. Now here's a curious story, the magnificent barn in the photo was built in 1835- we know this bcause there are two date stones above the main door- and because of this stone, we also know it was built by the local Alfriston builder, stone mason and letter carver- a man called David Pettit. Now I can't claim to have evidence of a direct lineage- however I would imagine there is more chance I an related than not. Us Pettit's don't seem to like to move to far away- I believe my branch of the family moved from Eastbourne to Waldron and my Grandad then married an East Hoathly girl (see what I mean about not mving very far!)- but I find it very odd (in a really cool way) that I am working on a letter carving job in 2013 in a building put up and adorned with letter carving by my probably ancestor nearly 200 years apart.
1835's letter carving by a Pettit
2013 lettering by a Pettit
To finish the job I had to pop down to Birling Gap this morning to carve the National Trust logo in a plank that had already been installed- the hardships of my work!
And here it is done. I really struggle to make ends meet and although my working life looks really exciting (in most ways it is) however the financial pressure and the struggles just to put food on the table really brings me back to earth- however when you have jobs like this one, it does make me glad to be doing what I'm doing!
Give me a call if you need any letter cutting- especially if you're wanting me to work in places as beautiful as this!!
Thanks for reading.