Finding solace within the art of woodcraft, Kofi Fortune-Jones is a Cornish-based woodsman who balances his life as a full-time radiographer with woodcarving. Over the years, his skills have significantly evolved, leading him to start his own woodworking business, Tarka Design, where he curates beautifully bespoke wooden hand planes and body boards. We caught up with Kofi as he shares with us the story behind his passion for woodcraft and how it has evolved into what it is today.
Where did your passion for woodworking begin and how did that evolve to where you are today?
I have always loved building things and enjoyed the challenge of having to work out how they functioned and worked. For my 7th birthday, my Grandfather gave me a box of old tools so I started spending time learning how to build things from scratch. With a passion for surfing, my very first project was a couple of hand planes made from old skateboard decks for my friend and I. I absolutely loved the process of making these and have since moved to the South Coast of Cornwall and evolved my skills, curating a series of bespoke belly boards and hand planes.
As well as being a woodsman, you’re also a full-time radiographer … the two are so different! Would you say there is a way they are linked?
Definitely! I have always loved physics and have developed an appreciation for what components are needed to make something function. With every single case being different, there is actually an element of creativity to radiography, requiring a level of innovation in order to determine a diagnosis. And, it’s the same with woodworking. No two pieces of wood are the same and again I am challenged to work out how I can make them function and work together.
Where do you usually draw inspiration from?
As a keen surfer and swimmer, I really enjoy being outside and embracing the natural world. So, I have always felt inspired to use natural materials such as wood and having the chance to showcase how amazing the outdoors is and using it to its full potential. Like-minded artists such as James Otter and Beau Miles have helped me see the beauty in using natural materials to make functional art that is ultimately being recycled and used back within nature.
What do you love most about what you do?
Spending a lot of time indoors for work, woodwork is a really effective form of escapism and a way for me to connect with the outdoors as much as I can. As well as this, I love being able to make things for people that they will ultimately take home, look after and go on to using for a lifetime. From the sourcing of the materials all the way through to handing it to its new owner, I love every single aspect of woodcraft and I cannot wait to see what the future of Tarka Design holds!
Be sure to check out Tarka Design and Kofi's bespoke woodwork here