Lesley is the driving force behind the company (and me)...
She looks after much of the business side of Crawford Pens and is responsible for looking after sales at many of the shows -especially where I am doing demonstrations.
She will make you welcome if you stop by to see us and promises that there will be no hard sell although her enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of her!
At such times, I am always on hand to reign her in if the need arises...
I can trace my love of wood and woodworking back to the age of 4.
I can be so precise becuase I can remember sneaking into my fathers workshop just before Christmas of that year and seeing the bright red sledge he was making for my brother and I sat on his huge workbench which dominated the centre of the room. All around there were shavings on the floor and all manner of strange tools on shelves and on the bench as well as piles of wood stacked neatly against the wall and on shelves.
I remember vividly, the smell of freshly cut wood and what I now suspect were the various glues and polishes he had been using on whatever else he was making at the time.
I knew I shouldn't have seen the sledge so I probably ran from the room and tried to look innocent!
When we were a bit older (and he felt that we could be trusted with sharp tools without losing a finger or worse), he started to explain the mysteries of the workshop and the beauty of fine woods and from then on until the day he died, he instilled a life-long passion for wood and the pleasures of working with it. In fact, I still have some of the beatiful woods he left to me just waiting for that special project. I also still have and use many of his tools that I would have seen on that first trip into the workshop.
He also instilled in me the same life-long habit of hoarding wood and spreading sawdust and shavings throughout the house that drove my mother mad and now also drives my wife mad.
Although my father did have a lathe and did some turning, it was not something I can honestly say we explored very much until we went to school and like many kids of my generation, we had the required 2 hours a week of woodwork classes.
In my case, I was lucky enough to have an inspiring and inspired teacher who knew how to introduce a class full of adolescent boys to the wonders of machines incuding the lathe but ensure that we all went home with the same number of body parts (all still firmly attached to the correct places) as we arrived with. Sadly, all of his good work came to an end when I left school and went to college and career and life took over.
Although I continued working with wood in one capacity or another throughout my career it wasnt until about 12 years ago that I had the opportunity to buy a lathe of my own and it instantly re-awakened the excitement for turning that I had known at school.
I cannot say for certain where the love of and fascination for pens came from but I have had it all my life. Perhaps there was always a frustration that I could not afford to buy beautiful pens but it wasnt until I read an article on pen turning and at about exactly the same time saw a demo at a woodworking show of a very simple pen being turned that I realised that with my new lathe I could have the pleasure of both making and owning them.
Although I have tried all sorts of turning over the years - our house bears witness to this - my over-riding passion is for creating pens and while I still love making fine wooden pens, I quickly realised the opportunities that man-made materials afforded me in producing beautiful writing instruments that are often unique and I hope will provide years of pleasure to the buyer.
Hopefully this background will allow you to understand the passion that goes into my pens and allow you to get the same pleasure from them as I do.
I do simple demos aimed at children at some of the shows we attend and I find the fascination shown by nearly all of them for the craft of woodturning quite inspiring. I am saddened however to think that many of them will only ever see turning (and many other craft skills) at these types of show and will never have the opportunity to try turning (far less be taught even basic DIY skills) at school if what their parents tell me is correct.
It is very sad to think that our future generations will only see some crafts in museums because we cannot find the means to teach them safely in schools. I am not a teacher and have nothing but praise for that profession but question how we have arrived at this stage? Children seem to be growing up without any or at least very many of the practical skills that were routinely taught to older generations and yet, as a country, we are screaming out for these very skills.