Craftsman is opening his studio doors to tourism

08:00 11 June 2014

Woodcraftsman, Paul Williams from Neatishead

Woodcraftsman, Paul Williams from Neatishead


A Broads wood craftsman is opening his studio door to visitors this summer - as part of his vision to make arts and crafts a key part of the tourism mix.

Holidaymakers dropping in to Paul Williams’ workshop in Water Lane, Neatishead, near Wroxham, will be able to see him making everything from pens and paperweights to bowls and chopping boards.

While the former boatbuilder has been successful in establishing an international reputation - his chopping boards are found in the kitchens of top London restaurants and a batch will shortly be on the way to the shop at the Cresta Run in St Moritz - he hopes his new venture will boost the economy closer to home.

He has joined forces with a dozen other local artists and craftsmen to promote the Two Rivers Trail - visit - around the Rivers Bure and Ant.

The participants, ranging from painters to silversmiths, all opened their doors during the recent Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios event and the aim is to give the public increasing access over time.

Mr Williams, 47, a district councillor who is actively involved in north Norfolk tourism, said: “People should ring and check that a business is open before dropping by. Mine will be open more than most over the summer.”

He said arts and crafts were an important part of the tourism economy and needed to be better promoted.

“It is a vast part of what Norfolk is about. Visitors want to see stuff being made and take it home with them,” he said.

Mr Williams, who had to quit boatbuilding after suffering an injury sailing, enjoyed a major breakthrough three years ago when his firm, Woods World Wide by Williams, was chosen to make pens for a prestigious campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Club and 125 years of Mercedes-Benz.

His chopping boards are currently his biggest seller, supplying, among others, Gordon Ramsay’s new Battersea restaurant, but he is seeing the market picking up again for polished wooden bowls.

He said he had weathered the economic downturn by maintaining his quality and pricing rather than going downmarket like some other crafts people.

“For a long time people have been wanting to buy things that were practical and useable; the upsurge in interest in wooden bowls shows that an appetite for luxury goods is returning,” he said.

Have you turned arts and crafts into a successful business? Email

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Eastern Daily Press visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Eastern Daily Press staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Eastern Daily Press account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists


Start-ups and new businesses gathered for an event hosted by the Sheriff of Norwich, Richard Marks. Pictured from left are entrepreneur Steffan Aquarone, John Lewis Partnership chief information officer Paul Coby, Mr Marks and Cafe Rouge founder and UEA chancellor Karen Jones, who spoke at the event. Picture: Steve Cox.

There are many things which can keep business owners awake at night – but finding ways of paying more tax is not likely to be one of them.

Better access to finance made 2016 a good year for entrepreneurs, according to research from Barclays. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

The past year will be remembered for economic uncertainty, but it was a good time for entrepreneurs, writes Barclays’ Simon Smith.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter