When Hallbankgate box maker Peter Lloyd got a call from a woman with a German accent asking if he wanted to exhibit his work near Frankfurt, he thought it was a joke.
But the woman, who called herself Heidi, was perfectly serious and now Peter, who is one of only five professional box makers in Britain, is to have a five-week exhibition at Amorbach from October.
It is another milestone in Peter's career since he gave up his job as a craft, design and technology teacher at Brampton's William Howard School.
Little Boxes: Peter Lloyd lifts the lid on his increasingly successful career as a maker of hardwood boxes.
From August 10 to 31, he is also taking part in an exhibition of art and top quality craft work at Lanercost’s Dacre Hall. The German exhibition came about after Peter held an open day at his workshop last year.
A German couple bought one of his boxes and passed on his card to a gallery who liked his work so much they decided to show it. Peter plans to go over for the opening.
He makes everything from jewellery boxes to writing slopes and chests from British hardwoods with something special in the grain. "The wood dictates the style of the box" he said.
He likes to know the history of the wood, and has used trees blown over in Kent in the 1987 storms and an oak from the grounds of the Kent castle where Anne Boleyn met Henry VIII.
Peter says he likes making things that are a pleasure to look at and feel. "In a way they are sculptures," he said.
"I'll travel the length and breadth of the country to get wood" he said. At the moment he has his eyes on a piece of 4,000-year-old bog oak which has been dug out of the Norfolk marshes.
Peter, 43, set up in business in 1989 after teaching woodwork in Botswana for two years after leaving William Howard.
He has a display area at his home, which people can visit after giving him a call.
The price of his work, which he does to commission, varies from £155 for a simple box up to £1,600 for bigger pieces.
He can easily put in between 100 and 150 hours into his commissions and says: "Hopefully they will become heirlooms."
He has been supported up to now by his district nurse wife Chris but hopes soon to be making a living from it.