A Life of Affirming: Kieran Binnie (1982 – 2021)

Image from @overthewireless

My introduction to woodworker Kieran Binnie was through a social media campaign he ran back in 2015 called “Community is…” Kieran had asked woodworkers from around the world to share what they believed community was to them on their woodworking journey. People from all over responded. I watched it draw them together.

As he described, “The [online woodworking] community is not something I went in search of. But when I stumbled across it, I found woodworkers with a wealth of very different experiences, unified by a passion for the various woodwork crafts, and intent on sharing knowledge and preserving skills. This willingness to share information, discuss experiences, and most importantly, to encourage and inspire each other, is life affirming and so valuable.” 

The “Community is…” campaign got a big response. I appreciated how interconnected with other people Kieran seemed to make himself. Social media can be an isolating, inward habit, but some people really know how to leverage all the good that can be had of it. I always got the impression that Kieran was one of those people.

He and I interacted on several occasions over the years, but it wasn’t until he wrote an article for M&T Issue Seven, “A Gentler Way of Working: Investigating Welsh Vernacular Woodwork,” that Mike and I got to see his passion for history and woodworking firsthand. We enjoyed our time working with him on that article and we’re grateful for all he has done to inspire others.

Kieran tragically passed away a few weeks ago. As I reflect on his death, the thing that most stands out to me about Kieran is his enthusiasm and outward orientation toward other people. Especially in these days of upheaval, tension, and isolation, we need each other. Our mental stability cannot be maintained when we cut ourselves off from others. As Kieran put it at the time, “The willingness… to encourage and inspire each other, is life affirming and so valuable.”

Today, I’m holding onto that lesson.

Image from @walkingwinson

Our hearts and prayers are with Rachel and Kieran’s little apprentice.

– Joshua


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