Radha Sivyer, a second-generation devotee and member of the Bhaktivedanta Manor group within the UK, is at the moment demonstrating his spectacular woodworking expertise as a contestant on Channel 4’s Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker.
Also often known as Radha Vinode Das, Radha was born and raised in Wales, and moved along with his household to the Watford space close to Bhaktivedanta Manor, England on the age of 12. Over the years, his providers included taking part in yearly getaways with the Pandava Sena youth group, serving to facilitate their fortnightly “Harrow Jamming” get-togethers, and touring the world with the Bhaktivedanta Players drama group, acting at numerous temples.
Instantly likeable, Radha is tall, effusive and energetic, with an ever-present smile on his face. Now 25, he started studying woodwork on the age of 15 along with his uncle Ganga, an professional furnishings maker.
“He bought me instruments, and we’d make little swords for my brothers Kavi and Isha and I, and we’d all battle with them till they’d break,” Radha remembers. “Then we’d return into his workshop and make some extra!”
Using the mini lathe his uncle gave him, Radha additionally found he may make decorative wood mridangas for his mom’s deities. A video he posted to Facebook acquired about 10,000 views, and he was inundated with orders – he’s since made nicely over 100 deity mrdangas.
Meanwhile, Radha started learning product design at college, then went to work within the furniture-making trade throughout his hole 12 months, for an organization that made bespoke fitted cabinetry. Although he was presupposed to be working within the workplace, he shortly discovered himself on the workshop ground.
“That’s once I began to actually really feel like I used to be in my factor – working with wooden, which is alive, and all the time transferring, and you may get so advantageous and detailed with it,” he says.
After his remaining 12 months of college, Radha continued working with the corporate. That’s when he acquired a message from a devotee suggesting he apply for a brand new TV present.
The audition course of for Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker was a problem. Working 12 hours a day together with a protracted commute with the furnishings firm, Radha would return residence to an electronic mail from the present, asking him to current designs for numerous gadgets he’d by no means tried earlier than, resembling a mattress or a bridge. Progressing by means of a number of levels of elimination, he was ultimately requested to do a making problem over Zoom – making a birdhouse in two-and-a-half hours that informed a private story, whereas narrating the method as he went.
Radha carved a birdhouse within the form of a small chatri, the ornate, dome-shaped pavilions that adorn sacred temples and pilgrimage spots in India resembling Kusum Sarovara. “I made a decision to attach the birdhouse to Indian structure,” he defined, “Because I’m a Hare Krishna, and it’s an enormous a part of my life.”
Radha ultimately discovered himself amongst the 9 contestants chosen to look on Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker, narrowed down from a pool of 500. After years of arduous work and self-critique as a maker, he says, this got here as a welcome validation.
The present was filmed on the picturesque Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, with the contestants and crew of 65 isolating in a Covid bubble with out returning residence all through the shoot.
“It was such expertise,” says Radha. “Everyone was tremendous pleasant.”
The sequence debuted on Channel 4 on Thursday October 21st at 8 pm, with a brand new episode of the six-part sequence airing every week. Billed as carpentry’s reply to the Great British Bake Off, the present is hosted by former Bake off host Mel Giedroyc, and judged by award-winning architect Alex De Rijke and founding father of the London School of Furniture-Making Helen Welch. Nine of the nation’s most gifted craftspeople compete in a sequence of challenges to be topped Britain’s Best Woodworker, with one contestant being despatched residence on the finish of every episode.
While introducing Radha on the present, Mel Giedroyc talked about his coaching in his uncle’s workshop, and the way he made “spiritual shrines.” An image of a Rathayatra cart-style altar Radha had made for a devotee, with Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra and Gaura-Nitai on it, was then proven on the primetime Channel 4 present.
In every episode of the present, contestants create a massively spectacular “Big Build,” and in addition take part in a expertise problem throughout which they study a wholly new woodworking method.
For the Big Build in episode one, contestants needed to construct a 2 x 2 meter double mattress, a scale Radha had by no means labored on earlier than; and inside 18 hours, when he was used to spending a whole lot of hours on a undertaking. Radha created a Japanese-inspired low mattress constructed from ash, birch and walnut, with a silhouetted scene making up the headboard. His use of Japanese joinery, during which joints are held collectively utilizing the wooden itself with none glue, nails or screws, impressed the judges.
“In the primary episode, I ended up successful woodworker of the week, which is the equal of Star Baker in Great British Bake Off,” he explains. “I couldn’t consider it – I used to be satisfied I used to be going residence!”
As the present continues airing, Radha has arrange his personal enterprise, Atma Furniture, since ending filming. He focuses on advantageous furniture-making, investing a whole lot of hours into creating well-constructed, heirloom high quality items. So far 100% of his shoppers have been devotees, and he’s labored totally on altars, in addition to cupboards, wallhangings, and movie frames, constructed from strong hardwoods resembling oak, beech, walnut and ash.
“I can totally put all of my success into the devotee group’s fingers, and say thanks for supporting me and inspiring me by means of my social media pages and in all the things I do,” Radha says. “I began my enterprise not figuring out the place my first job was going to return from. And instantly, I had devotees coming to me saying, ‘Can you make a display screen for my deities? Can you make an altar? Can you make this wallhanging? Can you make these cupboards for me?’ I wouldn’t be right here with out the devotees.”
Going ahead, Radha has been requested to create a number of massive scale altars for some main temples within the UK.
In the meantime, he says, “I’ll proceed to try to convey high quality to altars and paraphernalia for deities. I wish to guarantee that no matter I’m presenting is the highest quality attainable for Krishna.”
Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker airs on Channel 4 within the UK each Thursday at 8pm.
Find Radha Sivyer on-line at @RadhaSivyer on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.