464 Words - Posted on 3rd October 2018

Jonathan Walter from Bark Furniture

Yes, but why?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog explaining my reasons for changing careers and becoming a cabinetmaker. It seems there are as many original stories as there are makers, and it is a line we’ll come back to periodically as I think it helps to gain an insight into the mind of the maker. It also shows that such a move is rarely as dramatic or as overwhelming as people imagine.

I asked Jonathan to put down his thoughts on this. In his words:

“I have always been a little but envious of people who have always known what they’d like to do. Nurses and teachers, car restorers, anyone who has chosen a vocation. This is particularly true of creative people – artists, sculptors, actors. It must have been wonderful having an early life with a clear goal in mind. 

I had been an accountant for fifteen years before it dawned on me that noone I worked with was a role model for where I wanted to head. My bosses were mostly good people, but they were stressed, or didn’t know their kids, or were excessively serious! 

I was lucky that I found myself working in a country, Brazil, where the work-life balance made sense to me far more. Family was more important than career, and the stress levels were far lower. 

So I quit and moved to Brazil. And for no better reason than to use a different part of my brain I started to sketch. And I sketched furniture because I liked furniture, and I could draw it acceptably (as opposed to faces or landscapes that would always look rubbish!)

Serendipity struck when a neighbour told me their dad made furniture, and maybe he could make something I had designed. To cut a long story short, spending time in a workshop had me hooked. I enjoyed watching furniture being made, so I joined a furniture school. I loved making furniture.

The school where I learned furniture making in Sao Paulo was inspirational, but lacked the equipment to make fine furniture. This led me to search the world for a great school to take furniture to the next level. This drew me to Rowden. To this day I cannot get over how much I learned in those twelve months. Certainly enough to have the raw skills to start up a small business, Bark Furniture, with Lakshmi.

So, I have to thank fortune for finding a career for me that I genuinely love every day. And I thank friends – Piero Calo in Sao Paolo and David Savage in sunny Shebbear, for guiding me down this amazing path that I hope to continue to walk along, for a long time into the future.”

Until next time,


Lakshmi Bhaskaran
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Categories: A Makers Year

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