The more that is learnt, the more inflamed become
passion and curiosity.
In the beginning
Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of time spent in my father’s workshop, he was a cabinet maker and woodturner with very nearly twenty years of experience behind him at the time of my birth. The sounds, the smells, the tools and the neat plies of machined components all contributed to the enchantment of that environment to a young boy such as myself. On some days the low, cold, winter sun would pick out the dust in the air as we sat round the wood burner to warm ourselves and eat our lunch, but whatever the season, it always felt homely there among the machines and the shavings. There was rarely a time when there wasn't something to keep me occupied, be it helping with the work or making something for myself, but those early experiences were teaching me an appreciation of the basics at a tender age. Such times remained a constant feature of both childhood and adolescence, through the necessity of both child care and earning extra pocket money, and these only came to a close with my move to university.
Having left school with A levels in Design and Technology, Art with Art History and Engineering drawing, after a year of studying Manufacturing Management, it was Philosophy that eventually resulted in a BA Hons. Though a subject not traditionally associated with craftsmanship, it taught the importance of being able to break a problem down to it’s core components before attempting to build a solution. With hindsight this skill has proved its worth over and over, both in the workshop and at the design stage.
Living in the Manchester area it was inevitable that the first woodworking positions which I managed to secure mainly involved working with a variety of automated and CNC mass production machines. This was an enlightening time which provided experience of most of the modern methods and techniques of woodwork at a very practical and intimate level.
1999 saw a move away from mass manufacturing and the first position manufacturing bespoke furniture. This was followed with a job fitting out and furnishing luxury motor yachts which culminated with being assigned the responsibility of first surveying and then designing the interior layout of two new boats, the first customised for a parapegic client the second being the first in a new range of 32 foot motor yachts.
After this I spent eight years making bespoke furniture and joinery for Belvedere Manufacturing who mainly suppied architects and upmarket developers in central London. Briefs covered a vast array of styles and subjects, from gothic washstands to modernist private cinema rooms.