Women in the Woods - Anna Thomas

Written by Tir Coed / Thursday 07 March 2019


I have always loved being out in Nature. My inspiration for my Art work has for a long time been based on forms from Nature, especially in the way that things grow. I got my degree in Fine Art Sculpture back in the 90’s where I learned various techniques of making. In 2011 I was a single Mum with two small children, I had anxiety and was wondering which direction my life was heading. I had been to an Open day previously with Tir Coed and loved my time on the pole lathe, so when at the Job Centre they mentioned there were courses with Bob Shaw at Tir Coed, I jumped at the chance. 

The change it made to my life was phenomenal, to be out in the woods transformed me; I learnt about Sustainable Woodland Management and the interconnectedness of all things. My mind, body and spirit began to thrive again and my confidence grew. To be able to make things from the trees we felled just seemed so right. I decided to give being self employed another go, it was an ideal way to work from home with hours that suited my family. Bob taught me how to make beetles on the pole lathe, this coincided with an awareness of destructive beetle species like the Emerald Ash Borer and the decline of tree health in Britain. He introduced me to Kevin Izzard from FERA and that’s when my business really started to take off. I have made over 300 beetles, bugs and hornets for displays to raise awareness about their threats. 

Alongside making the beetles, I attended more courses and projects with Tir Coed including, Roundwood timber framing, compost loo build, construction and cladding and The Happy Museum project. I began work as a support tutor with Tir Coed, an ideal way to keep on learning whilst teaching others. I would highly recommend women getting involved with the woodland sector. It is a great place to reconnect with Nature. Start new friendships and source inspiration.