Taking a leap of faith, local craftsman William Barsley left his office job and decided to retrain as a historic woodcarver.

Since graduating, William has completed a wide range of commissions for private individuals and institutes such as the College of Arms, as well as worked on large-scale restoration projects including the medieval roof of Westminster Hall. 

William's ornamental wreath of hops.jpg
William's ornamental wreath of hops. (submitted)
Student carving a decorative leaf.
Student carving a decorative leaf. (Charlie Flounders Photography)
Woodcarving courses at Williams workshop
(Charlie Flounders Photography)

Passionate about traditional crafts and woodcarving, William set up his workshop at Webbers Yard in Dartington two years ago, from which he works on commissions and runs his much sought-after carving courses (https://williambarsley.corsizio.com).

Students make functional yet decorative items and can choose from a range of options such as a traditional breadboard, candle holder, set of coasters, or a leaf-shaped dish. A popular new addition to William’s course offerings is carving the figure of a medieval knight.

 William says of his courses, “They are a fun and relaxed way to learn with no prior experience needed. Courses range in length from two hours to two days, starting at £45, with students learning the fundamental skills of carving while making their own piece to take home with them. One of our most popular courses is the ‘Carve a Traditional Bread Board’ course, inspired by the beautiful breadboard designs of the Victorian era. Students of this course are also treated to some sourdough from the amazing Almond Thief bakery next door – the perfect complement!”

 Gift vouchers are now available on William’s website so that you can gift the joy of woodcarving to a loved one. Summer spots are filling up fast, so be sure to book on soon. 

You can spot Will demonstrating woodcarving this summer at the Totnes Show, Bovey Tracey Craft Festival, and other events in the area. He also welcomes visitors to stop by his workshop at Webbers Yard to see his studio and some of his carvings. Just drop him a message before coming as he could be out walking his workshop companion, Phoebe the Black Labrador.

Website: https://www.williambarsley.com

Courses: https://williambarsley.corsizio.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/williambarsley/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV7b3GFF90gfxuIaDtCeazA

William carving a Westminster Hall angel
William carving a Westminster Hall angel. (Jake Webb)