The Master Carvers’ Association are pleased to announce that William Barsley has been awarded the 2018 Prize for Carving for his Garland of Hops in sweet chestnut wood, 480 x 550 x 80 mm, exhibited in his graduation show at The City And Guilds of London Art School.
Selected by President Nick Roberson and Vice President Francois Loudwig the judges were impressed by the quality of design and carving.

William Barsley

William Barsley

‘This original design by William Barsley draws on his passion for hops, having grown up in the Kent countryside surrounded by hop fields and Oast houses. The piece is carved in sweet chestnut and measures 480 x 550 x 80. His aim was to study and celebrate hops as a carved ornament, striving for a sense of realism and movement in the piece’.


Past President and 25 years as serving Honorary Secretary, Paul Ferguson has been recognised in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List as, “Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Carving, Gilding and Conservation.”

Radio Clip, Paul interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio


Letter to the Times 6 January 2016






Emyr B. Hughes, Em, died Friday, 22nd August, 2014, a huge man, we miss him and his talent.

Modest, even tempered, generous and honest with wit and humour, Em was a pleasure to work with, a friend and ally.

A sympathetic restorer, able to recognise the nuances of period carving even the subtleties of an individual carver, Em effected repairs that could not be seen.

Conversation flowed covering eclectic interests, tea, beer and wine enjoyed, shop talk never dull, the beauty of carving, techniques, tools, timbers discussed with enthusiasm, hugely knowledgeable about provincial furniture which he liked to collect. Unable to miss a sale Em acquired many pieces, even livestock. He had an unerring ability to put his hand in a box of bric-a-brac and pull out a choice carving tool.

First trained as a teacher, then a carver, Em communicated with ease, always willing to share his understanding.

Em’s carving began with Welsh Love Spoons carved with chains and balls in cages but always with an eye for design and finish.

Hazel wood game sticks also connected Em with his homeland. The staves collected from his valley, farmed by his family for generations, animals exquisitely depicted, ram’s horn ferrules sourced from the family flock.

Changing career, Em was a “mature student” at The City and Guilds. Aware of the sacrifice he was causing his family not a moment was wasted attaining experience and skill at an exemplary rate.

Em has been restoring, copying and creating period style pieces to order for over thirty years, taking on and teaching apprentices, most notably Dafydd his son. Siwan his daughter, a talented painter, has been persuaded to gild.

Lately, Em has been exploring his heritage, carving pieces that comment on his home valley, maintain a dialogue in the Welsh language, enlighten the legends and folk tales he grew up with. Em’s deep knowledge of his valley, the aural tradition he absorbed gives insight to prehistory. Combined with Em’s ability to carve these pieces are extraordinary.

This was to be the continuing project.

Em left no job undone, he was too conscientious, the tragedy is that his work has been cut short with his life at 64. That he was never asked to “Chair the Bard” is a loss to us all and a reversal of the “Bard of the Black Chair'” when the winning Bard was killed before the chair could be awarded, 1917.

Em and Rose have two fabulous children, Siwan and Dafydd. With Gabriel Siwan has four children, Iola, Gwenfair, Idris and Ostyn who carry Em’s genes for the future, Hurrah!

Hugh Wedderburn


The funeral is on Tuesday, 2nd September, 1.30 pm at the Seion Chapel, Llangollen. It’s in town and next to the traffic lights/corner of the main street. There’s a car park behind it.

The crem;is close family only at 3.00pm and the refreshments at 3.45pm at the Abbey Grange Hotel-the road out of Llangollen to the Horseshoe Pass.