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Callum Robinson on Ingrained: the making of a craftsman

Thursday 19th September

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh, 2 Blenheim Place, Edinburgh EH7 5JH
Doors Open
Start Time

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 Scottish architecture and design 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.

Callum joins us for Ingrained, a love letter to trees, timber and craftsmanship – and to finding your own voice.

The story of a passion for wood and the evolution of a craftsman

The eldest son of a Master Woodworker, Callum 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.

‘Original. Rare. As beautiful as trees... A masterpiece’ ~ John Lewis-Stempel

‘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.’ ~ Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia

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