When it came to leaving school and choosing between art and woodwork in 1982, I opted for an apprenticeship with the outstanding cabinetmakers, Piers Kettlewell. It was there that highly skilled craftsmen taught me the true way to work with wood. Beyond the actual craft, I increasingly found myself drawn to problem solving and communicating with customers. This inevitably led to self-employment and provided me with the thrilling experience of working out what a customer wants; visualising, drawing and creating the piece to their requirements.
Quality is my passion, and an insistence on excellence is prevalent throughout every stage of delivering to my client’s brief, from drawing board to final fit. From 1986 to 1991, we exclusively designed and produced exceptionally high quality furniture, shop/bar/ restaurant fittings, with all designs completely tailored to the customers’ requirements. With each design, I felt an incredible urge to produce something even better. In 1988 I was designing a bar/ restaurant (Chadis Bar Bath street, Glasgow ), I discovered the truly exhilarating rewards when using the existing architectural elements; sand stone walls, recess’s, remains of hidden panelling, from that project on I have had such huge success with every interior that allows me those hidden gems.
My furniture designs were to change when I took a sabbatical, travelling to Australia and South East Asia, where I lived with a wood carving family. I saw how they transformed their visions into carvings by following the natural pattern of the wood, which more often than not had presented them with their original vision. Along with experiencing how wood was used practically in a very natural form, I sub-consciously realised what was required to relieve my dissatisfaction with designing solely to commission. In 1994, I re-established the business and was grateful that customer confidence in my reputation had endured through my sabbatical. This gave me the creative freedom to experiment with Scottish wood, discovering that it incorporated all the natural visual messages I had received in South East Asia.
From 1994 to 2008 we have been producing my designs and adapting them to suit the job’s practical requirements. In 2007, I set about selecting the favourites, described in my Cuil, Epinel and Rannoch ranges.
To this day, I enjoy nothing more than working on a challenging bespoke commission, where I am asked to design and produce something that I have not tackled before, create strong but subtle brand message through the designs for my commercial clients. From a personal, professional and creative point of view, this is the food of life.