Greg Humphries: Building a barrow

27 June - 30 June 2023

Greg Humphries will be resident in the studio at Kestle Barton from June 27-30. You are invited to drop in between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm to join him in constructing a wheelbarrow based on drawings from the 14th century.

Greg will first fell one of Kestle Barton’s diseased ash trees, then build the wheelbarrow using his fifteen years of experience with green woodwork techniques, with tools such as carving axes, reciprocating foot powered lathe, rotary plane, drawknife & shavehorse.

Probable daily itinerary:

27th – De-barking and shaping material cut from ash tree
28th – Wheel and axle construction
29th – Stretcher construction
30th – ‘Basket’ construction and fitting it all together

Greg says,

I am currently interested in questioning apocalyptic narratives around climate change. The idea of an apocalypse has recurred throughout history and generally this has been seen in terms of an extinction event for humanity. In reality, the Black Death precipitated the end of the feudal system due to labour shortages and the rise of the wheelbarrow as an acceptable and desirable tool.

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (formerly Chalara fraxinea) is a spore borne disease that is currently ravaging the UK and Western Europe. Predictions are that 95% of ash trees will die. However, 5% will survive, and these trees could be used to re-stock and re-build a genetically stronger ash population. I want to highlight that there is hope beyond this incredibly painful and seemingly overwhelming situation.

Also daily, June 27-30 join Greg for silent mediation in the meadow 10-10.30 am.

And at about 3.30 pm-5pm, join Greg in the orchard for demonstrations of woodworking techniques, tuition and practical discussion around the campfire with wild tea.


This is a free activity. No booking necessary.

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