I knew I was going to work with wood from a very young age – when people asked me what I was going to do I replied ‘carpenter’, with certainty. I was always messing about with bits of wood and my dad bought me a set of tools in a small size traditional carpentry bag (which I still have). But all that completely went out of the window when I was about ten – it just dematerialised, and from that time on I wasn’t sure what I would do, or wanted to do. I went to school, did a degree, tried to make it as a professional trumpet player and cleaned part time.
The desire to work with wood re-materialised when I bought my first property in 1996 – a maisonnette flat in a grand mid-Victorian house two blocks from the sea in Hove, on the south coast. It was such a relief when I rediscovered this creative attraction, it felt like something solid, much more solid than being a trumpet player (wasn’t good enough). I tore into it, went out and bought myself a set of tools and started working, on my own place at first and then for friends and family. So, I thank those friends and family members now, because they put a lot of faith in a 27 year old man with the carpentry skills of a ten year old boy and they gave me a start. I was lucky, also, in being gifted the temporary use of a whole floor of a dis-used office building as a workshop by my neighbour ; serendipity, perhaps, because I was on the path that was right for me .
Since that time I’ve been a man of the tools and made my living as a carpenter, furniture maker and general builder. This has meant that I’ve spent much of my professional life making and arranging boxes of varying shapes and sizes – intersecting lines and planes, usually at right angles. In carpentry and building the right angle is king – and this makes sense – rectangles and squares serve us well. But sometimes the right angle isnt the right angle and its liberating to have no angle at all. In nature and the cosmos the sphere is absolutely the primary form and the circle is the dominant shape ; I am fascinated by them like an infant under a baby gym (my daughter’s first word was ‘ball’) . This fascination and delight in first circles and then spheres has led me to develop my lighting range. The relationship between geometry and aesthetics is profound and inspiring ; following these relationships has led me to create my designs.
My other major inspiration is the material I work with. Trees are alive. They react to the sun and the seasons, their environment and the weather, and the stories of their lives are told in their bones – which we use. The relationship between humans and trees is symbiotic and – ideally – mutually beneficial.