I trained in the RAF, as a workshop fitter working with metal skills such as welding, machining etc. After studying photography I worked as an animation technician servicing cine equipment and stop frame video. Later I gained a degree in product design (GSA). I am an avid watcher of people and their relationships with objects.
I am not a luddite or technophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think there is great opportunity in revisiting established and past technologies and materials, to look at them in a new, different or disruptive way.
The Was-A-Log project is my reaction to being a small designer in a big world and feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the global movement of materials and products being made on one continent and shipped to another. There will always be a reason for outsourcing to international partners, for example the screws and candle cups I use are all (as far as I can tell) shipped in from the far east, but I wanted to find out what could be produced and sourced at a local level.
By using locally sourced wood I get to know the woodsmen and coppice workers that cut it and it is they who understand what is happening within the woodland environment, and its long term health and sustainability. Unless the wood being cut is as a site clearance or safety issue the wood is harvested in a number of sustainable ways, woodland maintenance, coppicing and skilled tree surgery ensures the woodlands and tree population has a healthy future.
Coppicing is a very sustainable method of producing sustainable wood (mainly hazel and chestnut) and coppiced trees often live a lot longer than trees that are left to grow unharvested. It is an ancient skill that has much relevance today and I fully support the efforts to increase this practice and widen the skill base to employ it.
Because of this relationship with the woodsmen, I can pass onto the customer the story about the products provenance and celebrate it.
By working the logs in a traditional way (see process) I can increase their yield, very little waste is produced and what little there is I use for kindling or animal bedding.
There is more of my design work using other materials on my other website at www.stovelldesign.co.uk