7 · New Mills Industrial Estate · Modbury · Devon · PL21 0TP
What's New - Case Studies - Oak Furniture UK
A show case for handmade furniture and accessories available at our showroom in South Devon. Case studies - read how each project is conceived and produced.
Spring Show 2015
Jackie Gale Textile Artist Resident at Artisan Homes
Jackie is a Devon based textile artist who creates modern artworks rich in texture and pattern using a wide array of recycled materials including vintage maps, twine and fabrics to name a few.
Since turning professional in 2013 her work has seen huge success attracting interest nationally and internationally.
To find out more visit www.jackiegaletextileart.com
Devon Moths Featured by the Western Morning News
Creating one beautiful example from nature from another is a former boat builder Andre Daniel’s passion. Andrea Kuhn met him at his South Devon studio to see his wonderful work.
He began his career on a large scale, building classic wooden boats, but now a Devon craftsman is hoping that the tiniest of projects will become his trademark.
In his South Devon workshop Andre Daniel creates delicate wooden moths which celebrate the many varieties of British timber.
Each piece is different as it uses the whorls and ripples of the wood grain to represent the features of the moth. They are then given their own Latin name; Gigas Ulmus Tinia, the Giant Elm Moth; Accipiter Taxus Tinia, the Hawk Yew Moth.
“I love the fact that every single one is unique because I look at the wood for inspiration,” says Andre.
“I have been making them for about a year now so I’ve refined the process. But I think every day they’re getting better and better.”
Each moth also comes with its own tree-provenance; a storm-felled tree from nearby woods; a blackened post from Sutton Harbour.
“Times have moved on and we have much more respect for our wildlife now than in the past,” he says. “We don’t want to see a real moth pinned behind a glass.
“But they are such beautiful insects and such an important part of our countryside and I wanted to show that.”
Andre has been making furniture for almost ten years, often decorating his work with an inlaid dragonfly, but one day he decided to trying and make something more three dimensional and an idea was born.
He has been selling his Devon Moths locally but, encouraged by their popularity, he now plans to take them to a wider market in London.
“I have had such a good response that my biggest challenge now will just be to produce enough of them,” he says.
Born in Devon originally, Andre only recently returned after travelling the world crewing on super yachts.
He had spent a lot of time around boats, having trained as a classic boat builder in Falmouth, but eventually he decided he wanted an adventure.
“I grew up in Hooe and spent a lot of time messing around on boats from the age of about nine,” he recalls. “I just liked hanging out with all the boys there, the sailors. They adopted me and I loved hearing all their stories.
He joined the crew of a super yacht starting as “the lowest of the low – one up from ships mate,” and spent the next eight years circumnavigating the globe working for the stratospherically wealthy. He saw the playgrounds of Monaco and St Tropez and the remotest of pacific atolls not even named on the map.
He once had to pace out a pot-holed runway on a remote island so that his employer’s private jet could land with salad for his wife. Another time, at the whim of an arrogant employer, he and his crew risked their lives sailing a perilous sea. But his experiences have given him a philosophical outlook on life:
“I saw everything and it was amazing,” he says. “I loved the life. No bills, no media. I didn’t even own a pair of shoes. I miss that aspect of it.
“But in the end I became disillusioned because I could see the world was becoming like a theme park and people were simply treating everything as a commodity.”
Back on dry land he decided to use his craft skills to make furniture and spent the next five years in Scotland. He was living in a bohemian area of Glasgow, not far from the School of Art and, without any formal training; he drew inspiration from those around him.
“I think it was good because I had no limitations,” he says. “I was not disciplined by what I might have learned at furniture school so I was really experimenting with everything.
“I have never looked at books. All the designs just come from my head and from the things I see around me.”
He began to build a reputation with his tables, cupboards and chairs, which often featured insets of copper, glass and ammonites. He once made a cabinet for a renowned anthropologist who wanted an Indian flint head set into it.
Another customer was so determined to own a piece of his work; she paid by instalments over months to be able to afford it. When he finally delivered it, he was taken aback at her shabby tenement in Glasgow and struggled to fit it into her tiny bedroom.
He recalls: “She just said to me, ‘All my life I have dreamt of living like a princess and now I can,’ and I just thought fair enough, why not?”
He says he learned a lot about the craft during his time in Scotland but eventually the pull of home became too strong and returned to Devon.
Now aged 40, he lives a simple life with his partner and Kelpie dog in a cottage amongst the trees in Kitley woods and travels to his workshop and business, Homes Artisan, in Modbury in the South Hams.
He only uses ‘home grown’ timbers such as oak, ash, elm, laburnum and is passionate about protecting British forests and teaching the next generation about the importance of trees.
Walking around the workshop, he talks about every piece of furniture as of old friends. He pats his favourite piece affectionately, a tabletop half hidden away in the corner to escape the notice of customers. It is a tabletop made of burr elm, fused with a piece of dark glass. He has christened it “Tree Beard” because of the natural patterns, which make it look as if an old man is peering out through the wood.
“The handmade element is very important to me,” he says. “It’s important because every piece of wood has a different grain and I look at each piece individually and work with that. A machine couldn't do that.”
It is hard work and employing others has not yet been possible because they don’t meet Andre’s high standards. He admits he struggles to keep up with demand yet, he says, he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
“We are so lucky to have the sea and such spectacular countryside. We have so much here and I think it’s important that we use everything that’s around us.”
Designer Furniture in South Devon.