A Covid-19 alternative to the end of year show.
Design fascinates me. I love the problem solving nature of design. This is leading me to think about a future in commercial and contract furniture design. Designing furniture to meet the vast and varied demands of the general public is a challenge that excites me. Post this pandemic, what will furniture even look like? And perhaps more importantly, who will need it most?
Studying Furniture Design and Make BA (Hons) at Rycotewood has helped me gain a better understanding of the practical elements of furniture design, while pushing me to become a more confident designer through a hands on making experience in the workshop.
When designing I keep the following questions in the forefront of my mind: Is it sustainable? Does it make sense? What is the purpose? Is it needed?
I’m continuing themes of wellbeing and also looking at home working - specifically designing a range of objects for now and the future. These objects will make for a more balanced life while working from home.
This craft is a life's work, and despite the full experience I’ve had over the last three years I know I still have everything left to learn! I have my sights on some exciting ways that I want to keep learning in the future, but mostly I hope to keep having new ideas and keep making.
"I’m Ben, I love making organic form furniture by hand."
I make furniture like nothing else, from chunks of wood which I whittle down to create scientifically beautiful forms and structures. My paper ‘Truly Three Dimensional’ goes into detail about why we crave organic form wooden furniture; basically the square and sharp objects we’re currently surrounded by are unnatural and stimulate the fear response in our brains. My furniture complements our natural surroundings, with flowing organic forms carved from big chunks of characterful English wood.
I am currently working on a series of modular furniture designed to celebrate and encourage performance and relationships between those making it and using it. It has been a really fun project and I am excited to produce it once access to workshops is a possibility!
I would love to create furniture that is both sustainable and cost-effective as I think fast-furniture is something that we can avoid but there are not enough options out there for lower income households.
My focus subject this year has been Material Mortality. Investigating illegal/unethical materials: ivory, tortoiseshell, tropical timber and looking into alternative sustainable material solutions.
My long term aspiration is to have my own workshop, to produce and sell fine furniture. However, currently I am looking for a job in the industry to further hone my woodworking skills.
I am exploring the ideas of using non traditional materials within furniture, to highlight the benefits of mixed media work. Focusing highly on up-cycling and reusing of waste materials. I am currently designing a collection using recycled paper.
As for my future, I hope to start my own furniture company focusing of refurbishment and the use of non traditional materials.
My focus this year has been to explore what makes handmade special? Can we still be crafting a piece using modern digital technology? I am currently designing a piece which explores this by utilising traditional techniques alongside cutting edge technology.
I would love to set up my own studio and workshop designing and making furniture.
I have been exploring how you can up-cycle waste items in conjunction with traditional woodworking skills.
I would like to work alongside a highly skilled maker, whilst being able to work on my own projects at the same time. Then move onto run my own sustainable business, full time.
My focus this year has been MDF. The fibre board has been around for over half a century and has not been explored by makers outside of its intended use. I am currently researching new ways to use and celebrate the under-appreciated material.
Long term aspiration is to one day have my own workshop to be able to have the space to design and make furniture from my own ideas for clients. Short term is to find a mentor for me to learn from - so that I can grow my skills and begin to form my very own workshop.
I am currently completing the design aspect of my course work, developing a feature light using the wool and resin composite which has been my focus throughout the year.
I would like to work as an independent contractor, for cabinet maker and/or joinery companies, who require extra hands for contracts but don’t necessarily want to take on a new employee.