“I always say I make from large to small: from interiors down to everyday, usable objects,” says Dorset-based designer Alice Blogg.
Her material is British hardwood, often sourced from a forest near her workshop. Alice began by studying 3D design, then came to woodwork via an apprenticeship with a local joiner; in the evenings, she taught herself to make furniture. “I had no skills when I began, but when the joiners gave me a tool to use, on some level the knowledge seemed to be there,” she says. Perhaps it’s in the genes: “My dad is a carpenter joiner, my granddad was a boat builder, and my great-granddad was a shoe-last maker.”
Much of Alice’s timber arrives complete with bark; she and her team then process it at the workshop. Offcuts from larger products are often repurposed to make smaller objects, to minimise waste.
A knowledge of traditional processes is essential. “Wood expands and contracts,” explains Alice. “So it’s important to understand how it moves, in order to joint the objects in a way that allows them to last for generations.”
Her British Baubles begin as a rectangle of wood on a lathe; she uses chisels to refine the shape. “We blacken some of them with a blowtorch, then take out lines to make contrasting white stripes, so they look quite beautiful.” Each one is then polished and threaded, ready to hang.
“Being in Dorset, where I have the space to think, and I can see the trees outside my workshop – it definitely inspires me to keep using nature as a material.”Alice Blogg