For a long time, I have been considering how to turn my passion from a hobby into a new way of life. A while ago I opened AikiCrafts my on-line shop – initially on Etsy (one of the most popular platforms for designers and crafters) and then at www.aikicrafts.co.uk and www.aikicrafts.com. My new shop features a number of collections – items for aikido, meditation and martial arts training; and also products for home, office and special occasions.
I have been fortunate to work on a number of exciting projects and created a range of vertical sword stands (tachikake) and wall mounted sword racks. I enjoy experimenting with various designs and different kinds of wood for my projects.
I am still at an early stage, but already I’ve had interest in my designs and products from all over the world, including Japan, the USA and Europe.
My life experience is reflected in my work, incorporating diverse elements that bring together designs and materials from different parts of the world to form a pleasing aesthetic. In my woodwork, I am keen to use authentic craft tools where possible. From my travels in Japan, for example, I use traditional Kanna – Japanese hand planes – and a variety of Japanese handsaws and chisels.
A while ago I made and sent two bokkens to the States, both custom orders made from air-dried American Hickory. As it transpired one was bought as a gift by the client for his honoured teacher. This is what his teacher had to say: “Thank you Alister and Mitchell. It is beautifully balanced, skillfully crafted and has a spirit of its own. Anyone who has lifted says the same thing: It moves!” Thong Nguyen, Kaizentao.
Thong also sent me a beautiful picture to show his gratitude.Google+