Craftmanship in Wood
In this webinar Marcus will explore some of the practical aspects of the material use of wood in craftsmanship. Using the construction of his furniture as an example he will demonstrate some of the techniques involved, such as steam bending, woodturning and a variety of jointing methods. He will show how wood responds to manipulation – how it resists and how it fails. The choice of timber for different purposes will be described and how joints have been developed with wood’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, for example a dovetail joint for a drawer front, or the panelled construction of a door. The use of wood has, for millennia, been a matter of convenience, necessity, economics and, at least in relatively modern times, aesthetics. These factors are still relevant, if somewhat different today. Interspersed with this will be a discussion of why we respond to wood in such a positive way. Of course this is not just because of the wonderfully versatile structural properties of the material – after all there are few applications which could not be equally well achieved using one artificial material or another. Rather, we have a deep and ancient connection with wood, which appeals to our senses of touch, sound and smell as well as sight, and also to our notion of the value of craftsmanship.
About the Speaker
Marcus founded his studio, Non-Standard Furniture and Lighting, approximately ten years ago. It is based in a large, if apparently chaotic, workshop in the North York Moors national park. Previously he was a lecturer in Physics at the University of York. His practice designs and manufactures modern pieces and is also involved in the restoration of historic architectural joinery. The studio’s output is positioned in that difficult area between bespoke and factory production. Much of the work is characterised by its simplicity, lightness and strength, which comes from an understanding of the material properties of wood and an appreciation of geometry. The methods and tools employed are generally traditional, but Marcus’s background as an experimental physicist, and an enduring curiosity, leads inevitably to innovation. This is a process which involves much failure, and very occasional, but immensely satisfying success. Some woodworkers excel at the virtuosic, while others feel that their purpose is “to bring out the natural beauty of wood”. Marcus takes a design led approach to a material for which he has a deep sympathy.