Despite having grown up in a house filled with carvings and handmade furniture, woodwork has never been a hobby of mine. Not until recently. In the last three months, I’ve made two large bookcases and two wardrobes, replacing shelving which littered every available wall space of my home with strong pine furniture, sturdy and reliable. And I love it; love the smell of wood in when I go to bed at night, warm and close, it cocoons me. Due to time constraints I’ve been forced to adopt power tools, but I still prefer the feel of a saw in my hand, the tug as the blade tears through the fibres, the satisfaction as another piece joins the pile.
In Braving Madness, Edward has a secret hobby of carving miniature animals similar to the Japanese netsukes, first popular in the 17th century. Typically only a few centimetres in diameters these beads were used to secure crafted boxes, which hung from their robes like a reticule or pouch.
“Do you mind if I use your ink and pen, presuming I can find them?” she said. “Have you thought the use of a decent filing system might help keep your desk cleared? Or just the use of a very large box. Or a fire.”
Betty pushed aside the piles of papers littering the blotter and her fingers closed upon smooth object. She frowned. At first glance, it was just a wooden ball, no bigger than a walnut, but peering closer she saw a tiny beak and an outline of plush wings and breast, with intricate feather marks covering its surface. It was a woodpigeon, beautifully carved, and completely at odds with the rest of the grand townhouse.
“As attractive as arson sounds, I think my secretary would object if I incinerated all my papers. Oh and the quills are in the left hand drawer.”
Betty jumped at Edward’s words and she slid the carving out of sight.