Quirky, Whimsical Bird Houses

Wood master, Boris Separd, on carving magical little tree dwellings

How did your love of woodwork come about?

My grandfather was a wood master. His hands would create whatever his eyes had seen. Whenever he visited us during my childhood, he and I would create something of wood. This was the perfect introduction to woodworking for a young curious mind. Woodworking, later in life, simply became part of it, and his photo is hanging on the wall in my workshop. To remind me what true love is and how to overcome mental barriers. He was a very peaceful soul, the photo reflects a tidy gentleman with experienced but gentle eyes, tidy hair and a moustache. The photo is hiding four missing fingers lost on the wood plainer.

When and why did you decide that you’d make birdhouses and what was the attraction? How long have you been making them?

I always dreamt about having a small round hobbit house, made of natural materials, with a green roof, quirky walls and whimsy details. I imagine a rainy day and me standing below the porch with a cup of warm herbal tea foraged in local woodland, staring into the blank, sipping the scenery in. As I can`t have the real hobbit house, I can certainly create them on a smaller scale and manifest.

I have been making these houses for a few years now, and each is handmade and unique, reflecting my current mood and visions.

How long does it take to make each birdhouse?

That is a tough question. It`s not just about cutting and assembling pieces, it`s about finding them too. You will find me on local beaches and woodlands, sauntering around, lost in my thoughts, collecting pebbles and driftwood. But these pieces go through another filter when I come home. You see, when they are taken out of their environment, they lose their shine, beauty and purpose, so not every piece is suitable for my creations. The author Ralph Emerson once said that upon his return home from the beach, he found nothing but empty shells in his pocket.

Give us 5-10 tips for a beginner who is thinking of taking up woodwork as a hobby.

Follow the rules, but don`t forget to break them. Improvise. Find your own way – rebel! Do not try to copy other people’s work, understand that the style takes time to develop. Stay away from perfection. Do not throw away pieces you are not happy with. Allow yourself to fail. Create from the heart, not because it`s cool. Follow the heart, it knows best. Don`t listen to the crowds, they often just crowd the path. Be honest with your customers, give them yourself, and incorporate a piece of your soul into each piece you make. Be happy with what you create, success will follow you naturally.

What’s the most challenging and rewarding project you’ve created?

One of the most memorable creations was a hobbit house with a green roof. It was a bespoke design for a customer from India, he wanted the door to open so he could put the ring inside and propose. I invested a lot of time and heart into this project.

What skillset do you think someone needs to be good at woodwork?

A good and healthy mindset is a must. Everything else comes along the way. The style, tools, and that is all secondary. It is crucial to be yourself and enjoy the self-growth through this lifestyle. Remember, wood is a relatively soft material and tolerance can be huge, up to a few millimetres. If things go wrong, you can always fix them. Somehow…

Would you like to share anything else with us?

Good photography of the products is also very important to convey the song of the soul. If you manage to have all 10 fingers after a few years, you are doing a really good job. And of course, when you buy new tools, first research what can go wrong and how not to use them. 

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