Nature, Connection and Green Woodwork

I’ve heard that when one is creating one is closer to the creator and in my experience this feels true. 
Often I feel that I don’t understand why I feel obsessed with whittling spoons and making stools with sticks from trees. These are times of big crisis -  is there nothing more important to do? Why am I so captured by something so simple and seemingly insignificant? I seem to struggle to articulate or to justify why I am using my precious time shaping pieces of simple stools in old fashioned ways with hand tools from the last century but still I keep being drawn to it over and over again. 
Somehow I know there is something profound in doing this work which seems to me very relevant and important at this in time. What I am talking about has more to do with what this work is doing to me rather than with the work I am doing. From many points of view it does not make sense to spend hours working on a simple piece (which when finished too often looks like I should try again!) yet I just love doing this. 
Maybe its has to do with the quality in every step of the work and process. I love the old hand tools, many of them are second-hand, some passed down through the family and have been used by many other hands before me. Somehow they are different from electrical tools. I just don’t have the same affection for power tools as I have for the beautiful axes, drawknives and chisels. 
Unlike when using power tools there is no noise or vibrations of machines, but space for the sensual experience of the work. I don’t think I will ever get tired of how amazing the fresh wood smells and when I split a new log open I am always in awe about seeing the beauty and colors of the wet grain - it’s like a opening a flower. When I smell the fresh resin on my hands I just want to inhale deeper and breathe in the scent of the wood.
People in Europe have been doing this simple kind of woodwork for thousands of years using pretty much the same tools and techniques as green woodworkers do nowadays. There is an ancient relationship to the tools and materials and I feel that through this work I can somehow get in touch with a deep sense of belonging and being at home.
I experience a sense of rightness with this work that speaks of the ancient link between the living world around us and ourselves and I sense a quality of deep healing from a profound sense of being uprooted and disconnected from my own “indigenous” roots, the land and the trees.  
And in the end, of course, there is the joy and very special satisfaction to have an item in ones home that one has crafted with ones own hands. There is a whole different appreciation and relationship to the object because one literally is in touch with where the wood has come from and how it came to it’s final shape. 
It takes time to learn and to make things with ones own hands, and even if we simplify our lives a lot it might be just too impractical to make everything we need ourselves, but to me that’s not the point. What I am captured by is what is happening to me, when I do this kind of work and how it can shape and inform me. 
To me this kind of woodwork is all about simplicity and getting in touch with simplicity seems incredibly important to me. It brings a kind of calm earthy groundedness that helps me to stay more in touch with what really matters to me instead of getting confused with every thought that pops into my head. I really believe that this type of work can be a powerful way to connect to our deeper knowledge and simpler way to look at things that too many of us have lost touch with. So in that sense, I believe there is a lot in green woodwork which is part of the revolution we need - for me it is! 
If you would like to experience the beauty and simplicity of green woodworking yourself, Marko is running an Introduction to Green Woodworking weekend course here at Quinta da Floresta on the 24th - 26th September.
Places are strictly limited so book early




Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Helping Nature to get back on her feet after years of monoculture and wildfires.
Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Would you like to come and help plant some native forest, learn about ecosystem regeneration and reconnect with Nature and yourself? Then join us on an Awakened Forest Project work weekend.
Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Sunday December 1st 10.30 - 4pm

Another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - June 2020

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post because so much has been ongoingly changing in the last year. I wanted to wait until the dust and ash had settled and I knew where I would be before I wrote.

Many of the plants and trees the bees and other insects thrive on have burnt in the October fires and will not be flowering this year and some not next year either if they recover at all. Here are my suggestions on how to help the pollinators through these lean times.

God these are heartbreaking times. Rain that was so longed for in the summer is now pouring off these hills taking soil and stone and track with it onto the terraces and into rivers.


Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

We have started building the second floor of the workshop!! This will be our last major build here and will provide a dormitory and meditation/workshop room which will increase our capacities for events and hosting people, especially outside of the summer months.