Do you have the desire for beautiful well made products…? I have. Buy less but better? Maybe because it is something I agree with whole heartedly. Having inherited many items from my Dad and grandparents I know those that I appreciate the most are the ones that have been well made and mostly have stood the test of time (although some of the less well preserved items are equally as treasured.) Often they are handmade rather than mass produced and have the character and individuality that only hands can define.
In my next chat with an artisan I am introducing you to Sophie Sellu of Grain and Knot. I first came across Sophie’s woodwork on Instagram and I love it. Have you met? I would encourage you to pop over to say hello for yourself. She is very clever and her spoons, utensils and boards would be at home in any kitchen. I’ll let her tell you a little about herself…
My name is Sophie Sellu. I’m 27 years old and I am a Woodworker. I have only really taken this title on in the last couple of years and it still feels strange calling myself this. Previously I have worked as a Visual Merchandiser, Concept Designer, and Trend Forecaster. I studied Interior Design at the Manchester School of Art.
What lead you to become a woodworker?
I found myself in a rut in my previous role. There was no job satisfaction so I started doing a few creative courses for my personal enjoyment. I stumbled upon a bushcraft course around 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I never intended to take spoon carving this far! I guess I continued with woodworking as a way of getting away from my desk and constant computer screen glare. I was always making things when I was little out of anything I could find. Typical when growing up watching Blue Peter and Art Attack.
After friends and family said that they would pay for the spoons I was making I decided to make a brand and put pictures of my processes on Instagram. I took my brand to the Princes Trust in June 2014, and by October I was being supported by them in my venture.
Tell us little about your work space…
Currently I am working in my parents garage. Its small and the roof leaks a little, but it’s a space I can call my own. I have a big workbench, a few machines, some knives and hand tools, and lots of sawdust and reclaimed timber stacked up on shelves.
I am looking for a new studio space as I am finding it a little lonely working by myself all day. I would love to be in an environment where I can learn from others, bounce ideas off other creatives and generally share skills and be creative in a really inspiring space with lots of light and plants.
I am finding it a little tricky to find somewhere, for some reason nobody really wants a dusty woodworker sharing with them!
What inspires you and keeps you creative?
Working with my hands all day puts so much strain on them, so I find that I am always popping out to give my hands a rest. I am so lucky being in London with so many free museums and galleries that I am always spoilt for choice. I find one way of keeping me creative is visiting studios and workspaces of other creatives that I have met along the way. I love seeing how people work and their passion for what they do drives me forward to do the best that I possibly can.
Tell us a little about your workshops…
I started running Spoon carving workshops last year as there was so much interest in what I was doing. I find it really rewarding to teach people that really want to learn. In my workshop you will learn the basic skills to carve a spoon from reclaimed timber, and leave with your very own spoon. My carving methods aren’t considered traditional but I have taken a style and made it my own.
And finally where can we find your work?
My kitchenware is currently stocked in a few shops across London, with a larger range on my website. I am hoping to do lots of collaborations over the next few months with lots of the creative folk that live in London.
top image taken by me with wooden goods by Sophie, all others are from Sophie’s Instagram gallery