How Dafydd got involved with A Way with Dogs
As fate would have it, during The Freebirch Sheepdog Trial in Derbyshire that Dafydd was Sponsoring this year - Dafydd met up with Ceri Rundle and husband Phil, from CSJ. Following a chat about the upcoming sheepdog trial, the wheels were set in motion.
After an interview with the famous sheepdog handler, Paddy Fanning, Dafydd arranged with Ceri to produce The Away with Dogs Crook as a Sponsorship presentation to be awarded to the Champion of the Series 2 - 'A Way with Dogs'.
You can see here Dafydd's careful crafting process that went into making our very own shepherd's crook for 'A Way with Dogs'
All about Dafydd Davies
Dafydd is the youngest of two sons of the late John and Peggy Davies of Aberdauddwr Hill Farm, Llanddewi Brefi. John (Jack) Aberdauddwr, as he was known, was a very keen Sheepdog Trialist of his time.
Dafydd was born in 1963 and attended the Primary School at Llanddewi Brefi before going on to Secondary School in Tregaron.
Dafydd's work was very much influenced by traditional Welsh styles and techniques
From a very early age Dafydd showed a great interest in Woodworking and in 1980 he left Tregaron Secondary School to pursue his ambition by attending college to study Furniture Making. In order to build on his 'O' levels, which included Woodwork, he took a TEC course at Cardigan College of Further Education which included Carpentry and Joinery. This enabled him to enter Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology the following year to take a two year specialised course in Furniture Making which led to a City and Guilds qualification and subsequently a job back near home with a local Furniture Manufacturer.
Dafydd's background in farming
In September of the following year with the financial backing of his father, he set up his own workshop in the centre of Llanddewi Brefi producing Bespoke Furniture in Welsh Oak.
Throughout this period Dafydd retained an interest in the family hill farm which persists to this day. During busy seasons such as lambing Dafydd can be seen helping his brother and family with everyday tasks on the farm. He frequently takes periods out of the workshop to assist his brother with farm duties .
This is when Daydd's interest in Stickmaking began
In the early 90's he met up with a local Stickmaker and attended a couple of winter courses to gain some experience in the Art of Making a Shepherds Crook out of Ram's Horn.
Soon after that he met up with another Stickmaker the late Gordon Flintoft from Glaisdale in North Yorkshire. Gordon's wealth of information and over 50 years experience in Stickmaking has been invaluable to Dafydd during his career.
Although Dafydd's Stickmaking began as a hobby and that's all it was for many years. Gradually he found that it became far more than a passing interest. Around 23 years ago he decided to diversify and set up as a full time professional Stickmaker.
It was a brave move blessed with good fortune
He had found a niche in a Welsh and a World Market without realising. By immersing himself in the experience gleaned by others over scores of years, Dafydd was able to perfect his art in a comparatively short space of time. He is probably the only maker in Wales who depends on Stickmaking for a living. Advance orders guarantee him full-time employment for at least the next eighteen months.
He particularly enjoys the challenge of Ram's Horn
"It gives me immense pleasure" he says. "The Horn is working against you all the time, and your task is to break that restriction. With Horn you are dealing with a life force - a commodity which has a mind of its own, determined to go back to its original shape - the wish to return to its natural curl."
Dafydd's Sticks have become collectable in their own right
The ultimate recognition for Dafydd's work came in 1997, when he was commissioned by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales through his deputy at the time Mr.Michael Fawcett to produce six specially engraved Shepherds Crooks in Ram's Horn.
Dafydd made those from Welsh Ram's Horn attached to Hazel shanks grown in Wales.
His list of customers also include The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Duke and Duchess of Harewood , The Duke of Wellington , The Roux brothers, Gilbertson and Page and the I.S.D.S just to name a few.
Sheepdog mouth Whistles in Horn
Another unique side to his business as well, Dafydd produces his original handcrafted Sheepdog mouth Whistles in Horn and also now the famous "BREFI" designer whistle in clinical mineralised polymer in an array of different unusual colours, which is proving very popular.
To compliment his Commission work Dafydd runs a mail order service selling Stickmaking components to the budding Stickmakers of Great Britain
During the winter months Dafydd has an extensive calendar of demonstrations and exhibition engagements throughout the United Kingdom.
In this photo below, you can see Guy Martin attending the CSJ sponsored World Trials in Lowther in 2011 learning to use one of Dafydd’s whistles.