An Interview with Furniture maker and designer Angus RossAn Interview with Furniture maker and designer Angus RossAn Interview with Furniture maker and designer Angus RossAn Interview with Furniture maker and designer Angus Ross

An Interview with Furniture maker and designer Angus Ross

Angus Ross is an award-winning designer who combines traditional woodwork, the ancient process of steam-bending and the latest cutting technologies. His studio is based in the Scottish Highlands, on the banks of the River Tay and he sources oak from an ancient mixed woodland, a few miles down river, which is managed to provide local, ethical and sustainable wood. Design-Nation caught up with him and asked him a few questions.

Design-Nation asked: Can you tell us about your practice and how your business began?

Angus Ross: My practice now starts with a beautiful mixed woodland on the banks of the River Tay in the Scottish Highlands. We start with a standing tree which is carefully selected for felling, milling, stacking and drying for fine furniture making. Our workshop is a few miles upstream and we slice and bend, mould and sculpt the timber into domestic furniture, cabinets and sculptural public art.

I started with BSc Industrial Design, progressed through designing plastic products for mass manufacture, re-trained in furniture making and have been a designer-maker for twenty-five years.

D-N: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?

A.R: Actually my material - wood. It has been worked for millions of years but there is so much to learn and my practice has been to nudge this - can I bend it a bit more smoothly, into a tighter curve, in a thicker section? Can I make this more comfortable, more useful, more fun?

Other than that I have always worked with others, initially in a shared workshop, and since I have been based in Aberfeldy with a small team. The on-going discussions about approach and techniques developed practice. During my year on Walpole’s Crafted I was mentored by Alistair Hughes, CEO of Savoir Beds who provided really useful business mentorship programme and continues to do so.

D-N:  What inspires you and your work?

A.R: Inspiration comes from many places, but the way we interact with things is always a key driver. I am always curious and am particularly drawn to light airy structures whether in buildings, plants, or products. Ideas come during the process of making, or the process of designing or the process of practically managing a woodland

D-N:  Can you tell us a bit about your design process?

A.R: Researching, thinking, mulling, sketching, mulling, model making, mulling, refining …

D-N: What is your workspace like? 

A.R: An old joinery workshop used continuously for woodwork since 1886, in the centre of a small market town in the heart of Scotland, surrounded by woods, rivers and mountains. As is traditional we have noisy saws and heavy machines downstairs but most of the time is spent at workbenches in the light, airy, larger upstairs space. There are always a number of projects going on at any time and the work is mostly calm, focused and physical. When steam-bending or glue-ing up we have to work precisely and fast.

D-N:  Do you work hard on your PR or do you work with others on marketing?

A.R: I attend at least one exhibition in London or internationally a year. My wife now does the writing. We aren’t brilliant at social media but our newsletters are an important method to keep in touch with clients. We always need to do more with the website.

D-N:  What are the main challenges in your practice?

A.R: My main challenges are always the new designs or technical problems to solve. Within the business, the main challenge is maintaining the flow of work, as so much is bespoke and made to order.

D-N: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?

A.R: Still here doing experimental work with a small team working on repeat designs.

D-N: If you could collaborate with someone who would you like that to be?

A.R: I have had many conversations with Michael Ruh (glass), and sometime soon we must move these on to fruition …

D-N: If you weren't a designer what would you be?

A.R: Boat builder? But that would still involve design and wood. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

D-N: Why did you join Design Nation? What do you enjoy and find helpful from being a member?

A.R: Being based in a rural workshop in the Scottish Highlands I wanted to be connected. The opportunities to exhibit in London are invaluable and I enjoy meeting and discussing work with other designer makers from across the UK .

 


Interview by Laura Jacometti

 


Events coming up:

V&A Dundee opening 15 September

Unstable Stool is in the Scottish Design Gallery

 

The Story of Scottish Design book released 13 September 

Forth Bench featured

 

The Rush Seated Chair symposium 14 September

Marchmont House

speaker



Evolution of Tradition Design Centre Chelsea Harbour 1-5 October

Exhibitor

       

Posted on
13.09.2018

Interview with Glass Artist Laura Elizabeth GlassInterview with Glass Artist Laura Elizabeth GlassInterview with Glass Artist Laura Elizabeth Glass

Interview with Glass Artist Laura Elizabeth Glass

Laura Elizabeth Glass uses her skills in hot glass to capture the incandescent qualities of glass combined with precious metals, copper, silver and gold. Inspiration is drawn from capturing a moment in time in glass.

Laura will be showcasing on our stand at Decorex from 16th - 19th September. Design-Nation caught up with Laura about her practice, inspiration and future plans.

Design-Nation asked: Can you tell us about your practice and how your business began?


Laura Elizabeth Glass: After working in glass for other studios for many years I began to get commissions for my own work. When I felt I was ready to begin my own company, I began with decorative pieces and this organically evolved into creating lighting and interior accessories.

DN: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?

LE: A masterclass, in glass working with the Japanese glass maestro Shunji Omura expanded my idea of the possibilities in glass. His techniques and processes were fascinating. He was also deeply into meditation as a creative process to let the mind discover possibilities and ways of making. By having a teacher open your mind to the creative process in this positive way really impacted how I approached my work.

DN: What inspires you and your work?

LE: Born and raised on the island of Bermuda I am very connected to the elements. Water in some form or other has evolved as a dominant influence in my work. Recent collections are inspired by rainfall on oceans and capturing the mystical elements of the ocean. The island can be blindingly colourful and endless in terms of cultural influences and people. So I find that environment provides a constant flow of inspiration. I also love playing with the materials themselves to contrast the metals with the glass to create gorgeous effects.

DN: Can you tell us a bit about your design process?

LE: I begin with drawings for a project or piece and this is usually an abstract watercolour. I then do a more practical sketch. Then I create a sample to capture an idea. Sometimes the design process evolves when I am making glass so being connected to the materials is important and I let the materials speak for themselves.

DN: What is your workspace like?

LE: It’s a bright space filled with objects of inspiration, some furniture for meetings, packing and of course work in progress. Lamps, decorative pieces and samples. It’s a workspace, but also a showroom so I have a 15 piece chandelier and wall panel on display which gives clients a chance to see the work and how it could look in their space.

DN: Do you work hard on your PR or do you work with others on marketing?

LE: I work with a small boutique company for branding and marketing and they are especially helpful when I transitioned to creating my lighting collections. I work hard on my PR and I use instagram as a creative outlet for documenting my story, a sort of visual diary which for me communicates so much more than other mediums. Looking forward I want to create more interesting content in the way of film and photography.

DN: What are the main challenges in your practice?

LE: I think of my practice as a puzzle piece that constantly evolves. I tackle one challenge and another pops up so multitasking is key. A continual challenge is managing lots of different areas of my business while pushing forward with my vision for my practice.

DN: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?

LE: In 10 years I’d like to believe my practice will include other materials either combined with my glass or as their own entity.

DN: If you could collaborate with someone who would you like that to be?

LE: I’d love to collaborate with a metalworker or woodworker. Perhaps, the talented fellow Bermudian, Melanie Eddy an accomplished fine jeweller.

DN: If you weren't a designer what would you be?

LE: I don’t have a backup, but if I had to say I’d work in interiors in some way.

DN: Why did you join Design Nation? What do you enjoy and find helpful from being a member?

LE: I joined to create connections with designers and to share the knowledge I’ve built up from working in the industry. Running your practice can be often be isolating and it’s a great to be a part of a community of designers and makers. It’s also a resource for communicating about events and to build a creative network which is beyond the world of glass.

DN: Have you got any exhibitions, commission or event coming up you are taking part in?

LE: I’m working on a commission for a bespoke chandelier and Decore with Design Nation.

Stand F17, Decorex 16th-19th September, 2018

Posted on
03.09.2018