Ingrained

Ingrained

The making of a craftsman

Summary

'A beautifully cut and crafted masterpiece inlaid with insight and polished with the pure joy of nature.’
CHRIS PACKHAM, author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir

'Original. Rare. As beautiful as trees... A masterpiece.'
JOHN LEWIS-STEMPEL, author of Meadowland, The Running Hare and The Wood

'A delightful book about the art of craft; a hard-carved woodworking romance written with tenderness and an almost sensual attention to detail. I can smell the resin and the soft, fresh sawdust. I can feel the bite of dense grain beneath the blade. Quite magical.'
CAL FLYN, author of Islands of Abandonment

'This magnificent debut isn't just an ode to the craft of carpentry, but the art of writing. Robinson's chiselled, elegant prose is the sound of a bright new voice in non-fiction. His memoir brings to life the heartwood in trees, families, and a young man making his way in the world with an inspiring integrity. This is essential reading for any artist who might be losing their way.'
SOPHY ROBERTS, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia
.....

Ingrained is a love letter to trees, timber and craftsmanship – and to finding your own voice.

The eldest son of a Master Woodworker, Callum Robinson spent his childhood surrounded by wood and trees, absorbing craft lessons in his father’s workshop, playing amongst the sycamore, oak and Scots pine that bordered his home. In time he became his father’s apprentice, helping to create exquisite bespoke objects. But eventually the need to find his own path led him to establish his own workshop; to chase ever bigger and more commercial projects, to business meetings, bright lights and bureaucracy, to lose touch with his roots. Until the devastating loss of one major job threatened to bring it all crashing down. Faced with the end of his business, his team and everything he had worked so hard to build, he was forced to question what mattered most.

In beautifully wrought prose, Callum tells the story of returning to the workshop, and to the wood; to handcrafting furniture for people who will love it, and then pass it on to the next generation – antidotes to a culture where everything seems so easily disposable. As he does so, he brings us closer to nature, and to the physical act of creation. Close enough to smell the sawdust, to see the wood’s grain and character and to feel the magic of furniture coming to life. At the same time, we begin to understand how he has been shaped, as both a craftsman and a son.

Blending memoir and nature writing at its finest, Ingrained is an uplifting meditation on the challenges of working with your hands in our modern age, on community, consumerism, and the beauty of the natural world – one that asks us to see our local trees, and our own wooden objects, in a new and revelatory light.

Reviews

  • Honest, original and true – written like a good novel, with that very rare merit of exploring the doubt and criticism necessary for any great art or craft, be it writing or carpentry.
    Lars Mytting, author of Norwegian Wood and The Sister Bells Trilogy

About the author

Callum Robinson

Callum Robinson makes all manner of things from all manner of woods for some of the most influential brands in the world. He is creative director at Method Studio, the company he established with his wife, designer and lecturer Marisa Giannasi, almost fifteen years ago.
Taught by his father – now one of the UK’s foremost ‘Master Woodcarvers’ – his work has been exhibited widely. He works and writes from a studio and workshop in a forest, beside a loch, nestled in the Scottish hills.
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