“I’ve always loved building and creating things”
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY LAUREN WOOD
Calling all Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker fans! How are you feeling ahead of the final? Channelling that vital onscreen LGBTQIA representation, contestant Lauren Wood chats about her journey on the show, her relationship with her wife and their IVF journey.
DIVA: Hey Lauren! How does it feel to have reached the final of Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker?
Lauren: I am totally overwhelmed to have reached the final. I entered the competition because my wife encouraged me to after we binge watched the first series. I never thought I’d get into the show, so to get to the final is just incredible.
DIVA: What was the journey like towards getting cast on this show? What inspired you to apply?
I love woodwork. It’s all I think about other than my family. My wife downloaded the application form and had me apply. I’m a bit of a home girl really so the thought of going away unnerved me, but my parents and sisters encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone. Not knowing how long I was going to be away for was weighing heavy on my mind as my wife was pregnant with our third baby at the time.
DIVA: How did you get into woodwork?
I’ve always loved building and creating things. I loved seeing things be renovated and my dad always let me help him when he was doing jobs around the house and in the garden. I come from a practical family – my mum is a seamstress and my dad is a plumber, so it’s fair to say we are creative / practical people.
DIVA: You’ve spoken about the role your wife Martha had in supporting you and encouraging you to go on the show. What has this journey been like for the two of you?
We had a particularly tough journey. My wife Martha (whom I fondly refer to as Dolly) was pregnant with our third child when I left for the show. She sadly miscarried during the filming of clock week. My clock design was a clock representing our IVF journey, representing the womb lining and the embryo (clock face) balancing carefully inside. The stand was representative of a rainbow, and it was showing how time stands still and everything is in balance during IVF. I didn’t put a battery in our clock, and I did one dot for midnight – Dot was going to be the name of our third child. Dolly was incredibly supportive throughout and she held the fort back at home with our children at a particularly crazy time. We both had to be strong and keep going.
DIVA: What did it mean to you to create such a personal, moving piece representing your IVF journey?
Our IVF journey was a rollercoaster. Dolly and I both harvested our eggs, and we used the same sperm donor to fertilise them. Dolly carried all of our children, and we successfully had two babies over six attempts. Sadly, for us our journey ended on a miscarriage at nine weeks, but we are grateful to have our two beautiful children. We’ve always said we wanted a house full of laughter and fun, which we both feel we have so we couldn’t ask for more than that.
When we received the briefs three weeks before filming started, because we were pregnant at the time it made sense to create a clock about IVF. I have received several messages from friends who’ve been through IVF too saying that the clock resonated with them too, so I’m really pleased that the symbol can be shared with others.
DIVA: How did you and Martha meet, and how long have you been together?
Dolly and I met at a surf camp weekend in the Gower Wales. It was July 2012. It’s safe to say I liked her straight away, but I was 27 and dolly was 22 at the time. I had a house with my twin and her girlfriend, and I was ready to settle down with someone. Dolly was fresh out of uni and ready for fun, so it took six months of dating and commuting from Kent to Devon to win her over. I’m glad to say all the hard work paid work off as we’ve been together 10 years this Christmas and married for five.
DIVA: You carved a ring box for her, too, when you knew you were going to propose. That’s lovely! How was it received?
I’m a proper old romantic, so I knew I had to make the box the engagement ring was going in. I had the ring made by a local jeweller and I went about making the ring box in oak. I etched a geometric pattern into the box, and it definitely had the wow factor I was after.
DIVA: If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would you say and why?
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I guess I’d say to myself at every opportunity to adapt and grow. Life is full of learning opportunities.
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