How long have you been creating bespoke furniture?
I studied Furniture Design and Manufacture in ’98, followed it up with a Post Grad and taught in secondary schools for a while before following my passion and craft and setting up my own workshop over ten years ago. I now work in the heart of Cheshire countryside with my favourite companions!
What kind of furniture have you created?
My Portfolio page shows a number of the pieces I have made. No job is too small or too challenging. I began creating bespoke gunboxes crafted from European and English walnut around four years ago and have totally enjoyed developing them into the most beautiful pieces I’ve created recently. I’ve managed to collaborate with local fellow craftspeople and tap into their skills to enhance my boxes, Roeproducts who are leather lining experts, Feathergamebird Tracey Telford whose feather lining adds a real wow and Emma Rogers, world renowned sculptor who recently creates some amazing finishes to drinkware for me. I’ve really enjoyed building great relationships with them and creating amazing things.
What do you like best about the creative process?
I love helping people visualise their ideas and then bring them to life. The challenge is making sure that the piece is exactly what the client wants. You get a real kick out of making a piece that looks fabulous and that meets their needs.
Why did you decide to teach woodworking?
I taught woodworking and construction in Ireland for 7 years. I have also designed courses for Reaseheath College. I really enjoy teaching. Many of my students have amazing ideas but don’t know where to start. I love helping them understand the creative process and develop skills in laminating, woodworking joints etc.
Where do you source your wood?
I get my wood from various timber yards to ensure I have the pick of the best woods for the project. My main local supplier is Potters of Nantwich – a good quality, independent timber merchant. Sometimes I have to go a little further afield for specialist pieces. The European walnut for my gunboxes is from Withmores in Warwickshire. I have recently imported a consignment of Turkish Walnut especially for a client.
What inspires you when you’re working with wood?
I love the contrast of light and dark woods – American black walnut and ash or maple work really nicely together. Sycamore also contrasts beautifully with darker woods.
When I’m working, I like using different techniques like steam bending and laminating to get soft curves and layered effects for particular pieces.