Ernest Riall moved from the USA to the UK in 2002 with the initial idea of coming to England to study and travel for the few years, before moving back. He originally meant to go back to Los Angeles, spend the next few years working in his old job as a statistician and director of market research in health insurance, then move to a small US town and open an antique shop, instead of retiring. But Love happened whilst he was making other plans. He met his partner Charlotte, an artist, who had family on this side of the big pond, specifically in France, and Ernest secured the funding for PhD so they decided to make their home together here instead.
So how did Ernest make the leap from Statistics and market strategy to woodcarving and restoration? Well, in his old job, he could feel himself burning out and losing enthusiasm. He’d always loved antiques, couldn’t see himself learning golf or bridge; had no kids and no ties and so just decided to take off on an adventure!
Finding woodcarving came about via a series of accidents that he just followed. First he took a woodcarving course at Bucks New University, loved it and seemed to be good at it. He continued his studies with some of the best carvers in England and France – Dick Onions, Colin Mantrap and Patrick Blanchard. He was commissioned on a number of restoration projects which involved wood carving, then Bucks New Uni asked him to teach their Saturday class.
The arguably short-sighted “powers that be” in High Wycombe have now closed down or reduced the courses on offer at the college and so, Ernest got the chance to strike out on his own.
He really wasn’t seeking anything in particular except CHANGE and he’s certainly found that. He’s found a solid relationship with Charlotte, a new family a passion for teaching and woodcraft and in the last week, has adopted a rescue Weimaraner dog.
Ernest’s courses are a big hit with the local craftinistas, which includes my husband, whose first carved leaf in oak is his pride and joy.
For information about classes in
woodcarving, furniture restoration,
jewellery and upholstery click here.
A new term has just begun and Ernest has more classes scheduled for the summer.