I’m one of a group of 12 admin who run a woodworking Facebook group.  It’s a fantastic forum to share your work and discuss woodworking, solely UK based, wood related and friendly about sums us all up. Here is the link if you would like to have a look; (https://www.facebook.com/groups/woodworkingUK/)

This weekend I went to the NEC in Birmingham to join some of the other admin team to run a stand at Makers Central.  I’ve spoken to these people nearly every day for 18 months and this was the first opportunity to meet most of them face-to-face.  To say it was surreal is an understatement! But in all honesty every one of them was friendlier, funnier and more helpful in person than they are online.

It took a lot of hard work and effort to get us there and a lot of behind the scenes discussions and planning and research to get the most we could out of the event.  We organised all of the Health & Safety, marketing, prizes and give-a-ways for the event – something not many of us had much experience with.

The event was fantastic! It was a place to chat with likeminded people, people I follow on YouTube, people I respect for their work, members of the group, businesses and a lot of new people that quickly became friends.

I got to hold a 1-2-1 interview one of the big YouTube makers and a rising star in the woodworking world – something I have never done before and something I really want to do again after having had the opportunity. It was nerve wracking and enjoyable at the same time, helped a lot by the fact Matt Estlea is such a nice guy!

I was coerced by Bongo (another big UK YouTuber) to turn my first bowl on a lathe – one of the scariest things I have ever done! This was because he introduced me to a massive wood turner from the USA (1 million people follow his channel).  I’d never heard of Heath Knuckles and kind of insulted him when I asked “what is the point of woodturning? I just don’t get it or why you would need so many egg cups!” Thankfully he understood I was a few beers in and was a really nice guy who tried to explain to me the skill and enjoyment of turning. I’m not sure whether I will have another go on a lathe or not… time will tell!

I f ilmed lots of live streams to the group and had lots of impromptu chats on camera with all kinds of people I met whilst walking around.  I was even allowed to film a demo of a fantastic artist using resin to create a stunning wall piece and given the basic equipment to try and recreate the work for myself.

Overall it was an amazing weekend of chatting, networking, hugging, drinking, laughing, more drinking, sharing skills and stories and meeting some very cool and interesting people!

I’ve put a lot of this onto my YouTube channel as I’ve neglected to do much on there in the past. But after meeting so many nice and encouraging people, I feel I should share more of the things I do and be a little less concerned with negativity and focus on the community I’ve been welcomed into.  It’s time to be brave, it’s time to stop second guessing my skills, it’s time to show off a little.

You can look at the videos I’ve put on my channel here;

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZWGjw74e9_39QtNBxO1jQ?view_as=subscriber

Please feel free to like, dislike, comment or subscribe on any of them – it helps me develop content that you want to see.