I was always interested in woodwork and trees – I made things from bits of scrap wood as a young boy with a set of tools my Dad gave me on my ninth birthday. On my parent’s farm – where I grew up – I was charged with maintaining the woodland, planting and thinning trees and gathering firewood. But it wasn’t until later, in my twenties, that the idea of woodwork as a profession started to take hold.

I bought a flat in Hove in 1996 and in doing it up I rediscovered the satisfaction of working creatively with tools – the slow, meditative magic of manifesting a new object into the physical realm. I tore into it – went out and bought myself a set of tools and started building and making things, at first just for myself and then, as my skills developed, for friends and family. I was lucky in those early days in being gifted the temporary use of a whole floor of a disused office building in the middle of Brighton as a workshop. This generous action came by way of my downstairs neighbour (perhaps as a way of moving my noisy activities away from the floor just above his head!).

Since that time I’ve made my living as a carpenter, furniture maker and general builder. This has meant that I’ve spent much of my professional life making and arranging rectangular boxes of varying shapes and sizes – wardrobes, cupboards, drawers, rooms, buildings. In carpentry and building the right angle is king – and this makes sense – rectangles and squares serve us well. But the right angle, after time, can feel restrictive. In nature you don’t see that many right angles.

I am entranced by circles and spheres, this has led me to develop my lighting range. The relationship between geometry and aesthetics is profound and inspiring; intuitively feeling my way around these relationships provides me with creative inspiration.

Another major inspiration is the material I work with.  Trees are alive. They react to the sun and the seasons, their environment and the weather. The stories of their lives are told in their bones – which we use. The relationship between humans and trees is symbiotic and – at its best – mutually beneficial.

And finally the most unpredictable inspiration in my work is that provided by my clients. It is their input, requirements and personalities which draw everything together and make each bespoke project surprising and unique

David Gourlay Woodworker About Me

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