If you go down to the woods today… you might meet Jane Fraser, armed with a chainsaw.
Jane makes bespoke pieces of art from reclaimed wood that she sources from woodlands and beaches – using her trusty chainsaw to cut the felled trees down to size.
She says many people assume it must be a man who cuts the wood and turns the bowls she decorates, and enjoys seeing their surprised faces when she sets them right.
“You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been asked who turns my bowls,” said Jane, from Stranraer. “People look astonished when I tell them I do it all.”
With a dad who was a forester and an artist mum, it’s perhaps no surprise Jane chose this path.
“My dad taught me how to use a chainsaw. I used to help him make furniture in his workshop. My grandfather was a toolmaker, which was all about precision.
“I’d always wanted to try using wood and 10 years ago my parents bought me a lathe. I’ve been doing it seriously for five years. I source the wood from beaches or woodlands – I never buy any and never waste any.”
After cutting and turning the wood, Jane uses a pyrography machine – which is a temperature-controlled fine wire – to burn intricate designs into the wood.
Jane is currently working with a rare Wollemi Pine, an Australian tree only discovered in 1994 but thought to date back 90 million years.
“The head gardener at Logan Botanic Garden contacted me after one of their Wollemi Pines blew down and asked if I’d like to try something with it.
“Because it’s quite rare, I’ve already had people contact me about buying a bowl made from it.
“Any proceeds will go towards a project in Kenya where I hope to volunteer, for families living in extreme poverty.”
Jane is one of the artists taking part in the annual Spring Fling arts event, where almost 100 artists and makers in Dumfries and Galloway throw open their studio doors to the public next month.
Spring Fling runs from May 25-27