Tim Stead: Magician With Wood

by TrixPixMedia in Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom

Total raised £25,801

raised so far



We aim to raise £34,871 to complete and market this film about Tim Stead: the story of a man, a tree, a wood and a sculpted home.

by TrixPixMedia in Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 31st December 2023 we'd raised £24,248 with 162 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

If we over-reach our target, the stretch funds will be used towards:

  • the UK and international marketing and distribution campaign 
  • organising grassroots and community screenings

 so we can make the film accessible to the widest audience possible.  We will also look to create and publish a book of the film.

About the Film


This film takes you on a rollercoaster journey with Maggy Stead as she battles to secure the future of one of Scotland’s most extraordinary homes: The Steading.

Grade A-listed for its cultural significance, The Steading is a work of art sculpted from wood by her late husband Tim Stead.

Can Maggy and her friends protect Tim’s legacy to inspire future generations to create and work with wood? Or will it be lost forever? 

“Just a big bonfire”, as Maggy says in a moment of despair.

In parallel, through remarkable stories from the passionate people who worked with Tim, the film discovers how Tim Stead evolved as a furniture designer and wood sculptor, as well as his role in the creation of some of Scotland’s most popular public art, including:

  • How Café Gandolfi became a cultural beacon when Glasgow was on its knees in the 1970’s
  • The creation of the Peep-Hole at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow and the “Oil Industry Memorial Chapel” in Aberdeen
  • How Tim and Maggy helped Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre escape persecution in St Petersburg and move to Scotland
  • How the Millennium Clock in the National Museum of Scotland was created just before Tim died

The film explores how Tim started working with native timber which led to him wanting to plant trees in order to put back more than he took out. 

With his pals he pioneered the first community woodland in Britain at Wooplaw, which kickstarted the community land ownership movement in Scotland. This has inspired people around the world to become more involved with, and aware of, their environment and the materials they use. Tim and his friend Eoin Cox went on to form Woodschool, to encourage people to make furniture with local wood.

“Tim used to say that it was actually easier to go out and buy a tonne of heroin in Galashiels than buy a tonne of Scottish hardwood,” says Eoin Cox. “It was just so difficult to get.”

Please see the tempting "Rewards" on offer for various levels of donation.


1701264559_trixpixmedia-tim_stead_film-the_steading-broch_bed_detail_2.jpgWhat is special about the film?

The film goes deeper than an artist’s biopic. It is not just about Tim. It is a compelling human interest story with a head and a heart.

The film also includes:

  • Previously unseen archive film shot by David Peat which gives a unique insight into Tim’s creative thought processes, showing how he worked with wood
  • A selection of Iain MacKenzie’s (founder of Café Gandolfi) stunning black and white photographs of Glasgow in the 1970’s

It is a story about:

  • The bonds of love, loyalty, friendship, collaboration, and community
  • The tough journey through grief
  • Pursuing an original creative life beyond conformity
  • Our relationship with wood and trees
  • Embracing and nurturing native resources

Ultimately, it is about trees and Nature as a catalyst for our creativity and well-being in the face of climate change.

“If we didn’t have trees, our planet would be dead,” reflects Giles Sutherland.

The film concludes as Maggy and old friend Nichola overcome years of institutional funding rejection and secure the future of Tim’s legacy through the generous support of ordinary people. Maggy packs up to retire to France and hands the The Steading’s keys over to the Tim Stead Trust.

Who was Tim Stead?


“I make sculptures on legs,” said Tim.

When Tim was a postgraduate sculpture student at Glasgow School of Art, he rejected the trend for Conceptual Art and fearlessly challenged the boundaries between sculpture and furniture, art and craft, and the beautiful and the useful.

He went on to design and make furniture – “sculpture in disguise” Tim called it - for galleries, castles, cathedrals, and even for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Scotland.

“I’ve just seen a chair I want to sit in for the rest of my life,” said John Fletcher when he saw Tim’s first exhibition in Edinburgh. He bought Tim’s chair and has indeed sat on it for the rest of his life.

Tim designed new chairs for each exhibition. Over time, the success of his furniture business enabled him to concentrate on pure sculpture with wood.

“That was what Tim was so good at: making honey out of hen shite,” says Eoin Cox, about how Tim could turn scrap wood into works of art.

Tim was just emerging as a profound artist when he sadly died at the age of 48 from Leukaemia in 2000. Maggy went on to run “The Workshop of Tim Stead” for 13 years where they exhibited his work. Tim’s former apprentice David Lightly took over the workshop and still makes Tim’s furniture designs through his company The Wood Neuk.

Why is director Beatrix A. Wood making this film?


My passion for trees is not just in my surname “Wood”. In parallel to making films, I jointly ran with my husband a native woodland and greenwood business for 10 years in Cornwall. I experienced the satisfaction of horse-logging, coppicing in the woods, and crafting timber into furniture. I saw people’s pleasure and interest in these processes and products.

When my husband visited Tim Stead’s workshop, it totally changed how he worked with wood. It was a lightning bolt. It inspired him to work in a much freer way with the organic shapes of the oak trees he felled. Through Tim’s example, he evolved his own unique style.

As I embraced digital technology over analogue film, I made several short films about the work he then created, which is how I evolved as a self-shooting Director.

When I learnt four years ago that Maggy was trying to secure the future of The Steading and Tim’s woodwork collection, I started filming with her. I believe Maggy and Tim’s story can be a catalyst to inspire other people to pursue their own creative calling and nurture their native woodlands.

What do we need?

We need to raise £19,921 to complete the film.

Why invest?

We tried to secure industry funding for this film, which proved impossible. Beatrix heeded the wise words of Tim and the people in the film about pursuing one’s own creative vision. She has pursued this project with a passion, goodwill, determination, and self-funding, through to the fine cut until she’s exhausted her resources.

We humbly ask for your support — on any level — so that we can take this powerful film to audiences around the world.

At a time of increasing ideological conformity, commodification of creativity, and alienation from ourselves, each other and our surroundings, this film is a call to action:

  • To think outside the box
  • To discover and develop your own original talent
  • To spark conversations, ignite actions and encourage people to be in touch with their instincts, their creativity and the world they live in

Your support will help inspire other people through Tim’s example of how to put back in more than we take out from our environment. For our own well-being and that of our future world.

All sorts of investor "Rewards" are on offer: please see the "Rewards" section.


What will the funding be used for?

The funding will enable us to complete the final stages of post-production early in 2024 so we can start marketing the film. This will include:

  • Picture locking the edit
  • Music composition and clearances
  • Archival clearances and restoration
  • Colour grading, GFX, and titles
  • Sound mixing
  • Technical delivery materials
  • Subtitling and accessibility materials
  • Film-festival entries
  • First stage marketing costs

What will I get in return for investing?

All investors will get:

  • A "with many thanks to" credit on the film
  • A viewing copy of the completed film in early 2024
  • Newsletter updates on the film’s release

Investor Rewards


We are offering rewards linked to the themes of the film for investors at different levels - see the "Rewards" section..

Beyond the rewards, there is an altruistic reward in knowing that you have helped bring this film to fruition and enabled an empowering story to be told and shared.

Please note that no travel or accommodation costs are included in the rewards delivery.


Why should this film be made?


During the edit, we have held test screenings of scenes from the film. The enthusiastic feedback we received affirms that the film urgently needs to be seen and shared:

“These videos were incredible – what a powerful way to learn about Tim Stead and his work! I loved the addition of his poetry. I was fascinated in particular by the Wooplaw Community Woodlands video. I am from the US and this was the first I have heard of community woodlands. I was inspired to learn more and see how I can support and even develop my own!”

“Fantastic films. The wood and the story of his life, along with him growing the trees and setting up the classes, etc – all amazing. His furniture was exquisite and I would love to see it in real life, as well as the sculptures. It’s amazing to see that he is not so well known as he has been a major influence with how things are made now.”

“When you come from a world of no trees it was fascinating to observe the response to the trees.”

“That was just amazing – so many stories it felt like finding all the little pieces in one of Tim’s sculptures!”

“Stunning, great way of treating people and wood. Keeping it sustainable in all areas, islands included.”

“Films were incredibly moving and Tim’s poem “the barque …” – when he unflinchingly looked straight in the eyes of his imminent death…”

“A VERY interesting watch. Woodwork amazing – to be shown to young trainees. Should be shown to a variety of people.”

“Beautiful insightful evocative and poetic films. Felt immersed in wood, grain, leaf and bark. Fantastic filming. Look forward to seeing the film again. Many, many thanks for the screening!”

“Fantastic films, so interesting as had not heard of Tim before this although instantly recognised the “style” from Café Gandolfi.”

“Great to see how far reaching the ripple effects of what started as one man.”

“Such an interesting man, and such beautiful furniture design - and materials. I loved the ‘get up and go’ attitude of all the folk surrounding him.”

“Was a brilliant evening and films, absolutely amazing. Really enjoyed. So interesting finding out about Tim Stead, what incredible work.”

“Congratulations – your hard work has paid off. Looking forward to the documentary!”


Who is the film’s Director - Beatrix A. Wood?

I look, see, question. I listen. Then I film.

I sculpt stories from words and images.

I create from my heart and soul.

I edit, hone and hew.

I share.

For over 30 years I have been making award-winning films:

  • From a Communist boy hero in Siberia narrated by “James Bond”, to cult rock stars in Mumbai
  • From a Sami yoiker protecting her way of life in Lapland, to a Presidential Aide framed for aggravated espionage
  • From Crofters on the Outer Hebrides, to Estonian conscripts living on the run in underground forest bunkers
  • From the largest unsolved murder mystery in Finland, to Scottish fishermen fighting for their livelihoods in the face of Brexit

I have brought niche stories to wide audiences. These films have won multiple prizes at festivals and been successfully distributed in cinemas and on TV around the world.

I use my cameras like a paintbrush and have a keen eye for composition. I have explored the sculptural forms of Tim’s work with my camera so that the audience feel they are looking at it first hand. I have recorded the contributors in a conversational style so that the audience are intimately involved in the story as it happens.

What is the style of the film?

The film’s structure is multi-layered and immersive.

The narrative elements and action are interwoven with a selection of Tim’s eloquent poems.

The film tells the story itself. There is no narration.

The film has been shot in 4K to maximise production values.

Contributors have been shot in The Steading or in a location connected to Tim’s work so that the world of the film is consistent.

Drone photography shows the legacy of the thousands of trees Tim inspired to be planted at Wooplaw and sets The Steading in its Scottish Borders context.

Who are the main people appearing in the film?


Maggy Stead
Tim’s wife

Sam and Emma Stead
Their children

Nichola Fletcher
A jewellery designer, author, and former Chair of the Tim Stead Trust

Iain MacKenzie
A former photographic technician at Glasgow School of Art and founder of Café Gandolfi

Eoin Cox
Tim’s great friend who now runs the Big Tree Society

David Lightly
Tim’s former apprentice who runs the Wood Neuk

Julian Spalding
Former Director of Glasgow Museums and Galleries

Eduard Besudsky and Tatyana Jakovskaya
Of the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

Rory MacLeod, Donald McPhillimy, Alan Drever, and Hugh Chalmers
Who were all involved in the creation of Wooplaw

Giles Sutherland
An academic, art critic, and author of two books on Tim Stead

Tavienne Bridgwater and Sandy Hellowell
Of the Tim Stead Trust

What is TrixPixMedia?


TrixPixMedia Ltd is an independent production company based in Dumfries. Led by self-shooting Director/Producer Beatrix A. Wood, we make documentary films for cinema, TV, and social media platforms.

Who are the Production Team?

Collaboration with this talented team has been fundamental to the success of Beatrix’s recent films:

Executive Producer
John Archer, Hopscotch Films

Drone Photographer
Carla Regler

Online Editor
Peter Fieldwalker

Archival Restoration
Ged Yeates

Audio Post-Production
Paul Wilson

Production Assistant
Isolde Milburn Wood

Marko Nyberg, Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Gerard Cousins, and Lev Atlas

What is the Tim Stead Trust?

1701440890_tst_ccgd200_logo.pngThe Trust is a charity set up to preserve and promote Tim Stead’s artistic legacy and The Steading.

Why aren’t they funding the film?

The Trust does not have an operating income or working capital. They are currently fund-raising to deliver activities at The Steading.

Who are we working with?

Tim Stead Trust

Big Tree Society


The Wood Neuk


Hopscotch Films


Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre


What happens next?

January-March 2024

  • Complete the post-production of the film
  • Develop the marketing and distribution plan
  • Preview screenings for contributors and investors

Where will the film be shown?

Spring-Summer 2024

  • Scottish/UK film festival premiere – hopefully Glasgow or Edinburgh

Roll out:

  • UK cinema and independent film theatre release
  • UK grassroots and community Q&A screenings – we are already receiving invitations
  • International festival premiere – CPH:DOX or similar
  • UK TV acquisition or Video-On-Demand release

Autumn 2024 onwards

  • Further UK and international festival screenings
  • international sales agent to secure worldwide broadcaster sales
  • International cinema and community screenings, building the first audience engagement through the many followers of other wood artists like:
    • Nakashima, Maloof, and Esherick in North America
    • The Scottish diaspora in North America, Australia and New Zealand
    • Countries with wood communities in Europe and Japan

What happens if we don’t reach the target funding?

The film is very nearly finished. If we don’t reach our funding target, we will take a deep breath, cut our cloth, and take out our begging bowl until we raise the funds. One way or another, the film is going to be finished and shared with audiences.

What happens if we exceed our target funding?

If we over-reach our target, the funds will be used towards the marketing and distribution campaign and help organise grassroots and community screenings and the international marketing of the film.

What happens if I’ve missed a reward I was interested in?

Please get in touch, and if we can, we will try to arrange something for you.

Can I contribute in other ways than investing?

Yes. Please help this project today by positive word-of-mouth and sharing it on social media or any other publicity outlets to help us reach the funding target.

When the film is complete, you can help us grow the audience by promoting it on social media and through word-of-mouth.

If you have suggestions for screenings or would like to organise a screening - grassroots, event, community, festival, cinema -  please get in touch.

What if the film makes a profit?

Any sales income will be used to recover the cost of production to date. Any profit thereafter will be split between TrixPixMedia and Tim Stead Trust and used to deliver audience engagement activities linked to the themes in the film.

Where can I see the film?

Every investor will be given a secure viewing link to the film when it is complete.

Please e-mail us to receive regular updates of where the film is being shown.

Any other questions, please get in touch:

[email protected]1701264597_wooplaw_drone_4.jpg


This project offered rewards

£25 or more

Future Furniture - Have a tree planted

Be part of the future of handmade furniture in Scotland! Invest in this Reward and the Big Tree Society will plant and protect a hazel or birch coppice tree on your behalf on dedicated ground next to Tim’s first workshop at Harestanes in the Scottish Borders. These trees will be part of a coppice planting programme that will be carefully looked after to be ready to crop in 10 years time for future generations of greenwood furniture makers.

£25 or more

Preview Q&A Screening with Maggy Stead

Invest in this Reward and get an invitation to a preview Q&A screening with Maggy Stead and director Beatrix A. Wood in Glasgow (date/location TBC). Travel not included.

£25 or more

Tim's Big Wood: Have a tree planted on your behalf

Storm Arwen smashed through a swathe of trees in Wooplaw Woods. Tim helped plant many of the trees in two areas of the woodland called Axehead and Gullet. Invest in this Reward and a native hardwood tree will be planted to help replace the windblown areas of Big Wood. Your tree will become part of the continuing tradition of community woodland planting that Tim started almost 40 years ago. Why not come and help plant your tree?

£50 or more

VIP Guided Tour of The Steading

Invest in this Reward for a VIP Guided Tour of The Steading in the Scottish Borders, hosted by the Tim Stead Trust on 3 separate dates for 12 individuals on each date. Please note that each of these Rewards enables one person on the tour. So if you want two tickets, you will need two rewards. Dates to be confirmed in April and May 2024. Refreshments included. Travel not included.

£50 or more

"Into The Woods" Workshop

Invest in this reward for a creative and woodland workshop at TrixPixMedia next to the Forest of Ae, near Dumfries. Led by filmmaker Beatrix A. Wood & 3D designer/production designer Eleanor Wood. Immerse yourself in trees and create with wood: write, sculpt, paint, film, photograph. 12 places per day on 6 & 7 April 2024 (1 x Reward = 1 x place), Lunch and guidance provided. Travel and accommodation not included

£50 or more

Into The Woods - 1 day Workshop at Harestanes

Let’s go into the beautiful woodland at Harestanes, Scottish Borders to explore ideas from the film through your own hands-on creativity. Immerse yourself in trees and create with wood in a choice of media. Led by filmmaker Beatrix A. Wood and Eleanor Wood, a 3D designer/furniture maker/production designer. Lunch, stimulation and guidance provided. Travel and accommodation not included. 1 Reward = 1 workshop place.

£2,500 or more

Associate Producer Credit

Invest in this Reward and be credited as an “Associate Producer” on the film and on IMDB. You will also receive an invitation to the premiere screening in Glasgow/Scotland (date/location TBC). Travel & accommodation not included. •

£5,000 or more

“Executive Producer” credit on the film

Invest in this Reward and be credited as an “Executive Producer” on the film and on IMDB. You will also receive an invitation to the premiere screening in Glasgow/Scotland (date/location TBC). Travel and accommodation not included.

£25 or more

"With The Grain: An Appreciation of Tim Stead"

Investing in this Reward will deliver to you a copy of the inspiring book “With The Grain: An Appreciation of Tim Stead”, edited by Giles Sutherland. Only 10 copies will be made available by the Tim Stead Trust. UK postage included.

£200 or more

The InStead Stool Course

Invest in this Reward for a place on a course where you'll make not one of Tim’s pieces of furniture but one of your own InStead! Run by Eoin Cox & the award-winning Big Tree Society using Wooplaw Ash and Elm, you'll make a stool inspired by one of Tim’s early designs. Working in greenwood, old tools in a traditional way at Tim’s first workshop at Harestanes, Scottish Borders. Materials, tuition, lunch & the infamous craic included but not travel

£200 or more

The 2nd Instead Stool Course

Invest in this Reward for a place on a course where you'll make not one of Tim’s pieces of furniture but one of your own InStead! Run by Eoin Cox & the award-winning Big Tree Society using Wooplaw Ash and Elm, you'll make a stool inspired by one of Tim’s early designs. Working in greenwood, old tools in a traditional way at Tim’s first workshop at Harestanes, Scottish Borders. Materials, tuition, lunch & the infamous craic included but not travel

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