Here we are - 12 months since taking the plunge to go full-time with Whyman Furniture.
It took a little time to get fully set up, but I'm fortunate to have been busy continuously since then.
Here's a roundup of 6 highlights from the past year:
1 - Setting up in Old Market Manor
A great workshop and a great crew. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to start my business there. It was a brilliant place to find my feet business-wise, surrounded by a bunch of other really talented makers.
It took some adjustment to get used to the freedom and control afforded by finally being fully self-employed, but I think that the work I did last year was some of the best I've ever made.
2 - The Wye Dining Set
A really ambitious project that tested my skills as a designer and maker. A great design with some tricky elements to pull off. It was a fun concept to pair centuries-old making techniques - including Steam-bending and Coopering with a contemporary, mid-century-inspired design.
I think the result is beautiful and speaks for itself.
It doesn't all go to plan first time. The first version of the bending jig failed with the winch snapping a split pin under pressure.
3 - The Origin Table
Another good skill/strength tester. The design for this was pretty straightforward with the ultra-minimalist brief. The challenge was figuring out how to make a 4-meter table as a one-man operation. I'll admit I did have some help with some of the lifting, but for the most part, I managed it all solo. Proves how much you can do on your own.
4 - Wood & Wool Exhibition with Prior
A nice little waymarker 2/3rds throughout the year, I was invited to exhibit by Prior to participate in a trio exhibition, Wood & Wool. We set up a really lovely display in the Prior Exhibition space to feature a host of works, new and old. A really nice, really local thing - all prices were made in Bristol. We'll hopefully be doing something similar in 24.
A new design was developed especially for the exhibition - the Henge Coffee table. A Scottish Elm Top paired with an English Oak frame.
5 - Moving Workshops
In November I upped sticks and moved workshops, to the new Hone Bristol location. I've another post planned to go into detail on this, but I've got a much bigger, lighter space than previous, all a ten minute walk from my home.
6 - WIP
And the current job. The biggest scale project I've taken on to date. I don't want to give too much away but it's coming along really nicely. We're taking a lot of influence from brutalist architecture and monolithic shapes, it's going to look like nothing you've ever seen before.
Plans for 2024
In blogs: words on the new space, my approach to sustainability, and some deep dives into the design process.
Thanks to everyone that's followed along so far. Please share and subscribe if you've enjoyed reading.
In work: Fun outdoor projects, including a modern brutalist take on a Central Asian Tapchan bench (currently WIP), an outdoor Wye bench for Fresh Air Sculpture 24, plus the first Whyman Furniture Kitchen.
I've said it before, but it's been a tough, but fulfilling year. At the moment, any money I make is being ploughed right back into the business through investment in better tooling, stock, and website services, plus keeping my trusty T4 on the road. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who's decided to invest in my craft and commission a piece.
2024 is fast getting filled up. I have availability to take on new work from May onwards. Get in touch to discuss your project.