Monday 13 January 2014

Spotlight Post - Planengrain

How did you decide on the name for your shop?
 My shop name came about when setting up my Etsy shop.
I tried to describe working with wood without using the words,
wood, work or tools!
After several hours of playing with words I arrived at Planengrain.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start? 
In 2009, myself and my partner Abby gave up our jobs
and prepared to move to Greece to work as volunteers
on a wetland conservation project, with chameleons.
Having spent 9 years working hard to buy a house
with the intention of renting it out to partially fund our plans,
we had just our car, a pile of camping equipment
and our empty house up for rent.
Most of our possessions sold off,
and with just £500 in my bank account we were a few days
away from driving across Europe to our new life in Greece.
With 5 days left to go, I was sat planning the route we would take
which in itself would have been an amazing adventure,
when I received the devastating news that the project had collapsed due to financial crisis in Greece. Basically the project which had been running for years had ceased to exist.
We found ourselves in an unfamiliar situation,
out of work! for me this was the first time since I had left school in 1988.
Using a handful of tools which were going to be taken with us, and my £500,
I started to make bird boxes and bird feeders with old pallet wood
that our old employer was kind enough to supply me with.
Very slowly things started to sell, but with the bank balance going down
more than it went up things did get very scary.
At a local craft show in 2010, I was fortunate enough to meet a group of weavers,
all of whom asked me to make bits for them and repair tools.....
they all suggested I should start making looms and weaving tools
due to a lack of suppliers in the UK. And so it began!!
Another stroke of good fortune was an Uncle who was winding down his wood turning business,
offering me a large amount of timber, comprising of around 45 types of wood to get me going properly. 
So in my empty garden shed, with a few new tools and a pile of timber,
Planengrain was born.......

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?

It is hard to pick a single item from the things I make,
but the mixture of woods that I used for this loom just seemed to work really well!
It is a simple patch making loom but is really nice to look at!!

What made you start? 
I’ve always enjoyed making things, from a very young age.
My favourite pastime was making diorama’s and models for my wargames miniatures.
Although I never played any wargames, I just liked painting and making things!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration always comes when not looking for it!
Usually when out walking enjoying the natural world.
Travelling also, has always been a great source.
There are a few films that always seem to get my brain going,
especially the Lord of the rings and The hobbit….

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
When I do have spare time, it is spent walking and exploring around Derbyshire,
or sitting quietly painting miniatures and making models.

 A pair of lignum vitae weaving shuttles.

An English oak pendant, inlayed with New Zealand paua shell

A miniature house

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?
The only advice I could offer to anyone starting out is – do something you enjoy,
occasionally try something that takes you out of your comfort zone and most importantly,
don’t expect overnight success!
If starting a small home based, craft business, allow a couple of years for things to get going!
Promote yourself as much as possible as not many people will do it for you!


Wow what an amazing story!
It's fantastic that out of such an awful time
you have come to achieve so much!
I hope you'll all join me thanking Paul and I hope you'll
visit his sites and see more of his wonderful work!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading the interview. I was curious how you started paul. Thank you both, sue and paul. X.


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