We know that materials matter, and the right materials can take a project from good to great.
In issue number eight of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly, we explore the material selection process of London-based designer and craftsman Sebastian Cox, who carefully and thoughtfully hand selects timber for his creative designs largely based on his emotional connection to the raw materials.
The theme of issue 08 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly is “Feel” — not only physical touch, but also the special thing that happens when multiple senses conspire to take you down the same path. What types of feelings/emotions do you hope your works evoke for the people who buy them?
I want people to feel engaged with nature and connected to a certain place and time when they buy my furniture; provenance, tradition and heritage are important elements of my work.
I also want people to feel familiar with the piece; like they know it and understand it. More-so, I want them to have a feeling of familiarity that challenges the typical ‘familiar’ and makes them think differently about the next piece of furniture they buy, what it’s made of and where it comes from. Something which takes them way beyond the things they already have in their homes or the instant gratification of experiences online.
How do you select the wood for each product? Is there are feeling you get (physical or sensorial) when choosing the materials?
Once I’m in the timber yard looking through boules of timber, the selection process is heavily led by my own emotional connection to my material. In promoting the breadth of British hardwoods that we have available to us I have a much greater level of affection for timber which is particularly characterful and expresses the variety which makes British hardwoods so spectacular.
Timber like that, with colourful detailing, flecking, pipping, defined grains, knots and shakes, elicits a great feeling of excitement within me because those features are true manifestations of the beauty of my material and it’s those features that drive my creativity and the designing process.
How do your own feelings come through in your work?
My passion for the material is clearly shown through the way we use them in the workshop and in the design process; we use them in a sensitive and considered way. Everything we produce is embodied by the love of the maker. We enjoy what we do and we’re proud of the work we produce. I believe that a little bit of that feeling is embodied in everything that leaves the workshop. So much so, we tried to capture this in the piece we created for Clerkenwell Design Week, with artist Laura Ellen Bacon, called the Invisible Store of Happiness.