I've actually been here a little while now, but anyway, I've started a blog now too.
Why start a blog? Don't you already have enough to do?
I figure I can use this to share some longer form writing and images than other socials, sharing a little more of the process and the ethos behind my work. Plus, I've been ill in the past couple weeks so spent a little less time in the workshop.
My business is 'Whyman Furniture'
Sorry, there isn't anything clever behind the name - 'Whyman' is just my last name. They gave me it when I was born.
I use my family name for my business because I'm proud of my work and what it represents.
I design and make furniture from my workshop in East Bristol. Really nice furniture. Clean, contemporary handcrafted furniture, using solid British-grown timbers. I make on a bespoke and made-to-order basis, and I'm really good at it.
I'm good at it because I'm passionate about it. I love making things, and I want the things I make to be the best they can be.
Because I'm passionate about it I trained for it. I studied Industrial design at Loughborough University, giving me essential skills in design research, idea generation, ergonomic design, CAD and prototyping.
They didn't let us design furniture though - the focus was all on mass manufacture, generally gadgets and medical devices.
Around a decade after starting university and a frustrated career doing a variety of jobs, including but not limited to:
- A spell barista-ing then assistant managing branch of a well-known American coffee chain. (Fun enough at first but pretty grim after a time)
- A long stint working at a bank (don't worry, I wasn't one of those). I was a vulnerable customer and financial difficulties specialist. Day-to-day this meant helping customers with disabilities to manage their finances, along with customers with gambling issues. Pretty far from the Wolf of Wall Street.
Frustrated by the lack of creativity in my work life, but significantly lacking the practical skills to work as a maker I decided to return to study, this time in the Lake District. Since I was quitting a steady job with career prospects I figured I should probably get the best training possible, so I attended Waters and Acland Furniture School - probably the world's best school for fine woodworking.
My time there was incredible. I finally had the feeling that I was doing the right thing, in the right place to help me to get where I wanted to be.
Going back to school/training as an adult is much easier than school as a teenager. You have so much more drive and interest in what you're doing, and an appreciation that you're working on skills that will get you out of that crappy desk job or customer service gig. I couldn't afford to do the full three terms there, so only signed up for two. I worked my arse off though, and got more done than most students do with the full three.
One of the pieces I started at School was the Chord Chair - nominated for multiple awards and featured in various places/publications on the internet. I'm working on a second version two of that chair at the moment.
After school, I spent some time working at King & Webbon back in Bristol. I had a really good time there and made some great friends. Their workshop was beautiful, and still the tidiest I've ever been in.
In January 2023 there wasn't quite enough work on for me to stay on there, and I decided it was time to try to go it alone. I took a space in a shared workshop - Old Market Manor and started working on 'Whyman Furniture' full time.
I've worked on some ace projects this year, both individually and as collaborations with other makers in Old Market.
It's been a tough year, but I've had to chance to work with some great people on some really great projects. I've learned a lot and just about kept the lights on.
I'll hopefully get a bit better at it as we go. If you know anyone you think might enjoy it, please share it with them.
I'll never spam you. I predict sending out the newsletter once or twice a month at best, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Thanks for reading,
Sam / Whyman Furniture