Edward Collinson is a multi-talented furniture designer, sculptor, woodworker, crafter. He established his studio in 2015 in North London, but the essence of his childhood – growing up in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside – runs through his work. It is its lifeblood. Working mainly with oak, some of which is felled from the land he grew up on, he creates furniture, freestanding kitchens, wardrobes, beds, chairs, semi-sculptural functional objects and bespoke pieces. His work is refined, timeless and modest. Blending traditional techniques with modern practices and collaborating with architects and interior designers, all his work is as considered as he is in person – we talk with Edward in his studio.
I’ve been obsessed with making things my whole life. I grew up in the country and as a kid built all sorts. I built a shed when I was seven, with a steep pitched roof and a window. I went to art school and made paintings, sculpture and drawings. My route as a furniture maker has been making bespoke pieces in response to clients’ briefs and continuously exploring new ideas and developing the work through that. I took the hard road, and learned to build furniture along the way.
I spend all my time in the workshop currently. I’ll work on commission pieces through the day then work on prototypes. A creative outlet is really important. Not that commissions are not creative, but it’s good to do something unexpected every day.
I’d like to work more closely with architects from the outset, to develop better solution for how furniture is integrated into a space, be it fitted or freestanding. I’d like to work on the architectural details.
I’m just about to launch a whole bunch of new pieces too. I’ve been felling and preparing my own stock of Oak for over a year now. The Three Oaks will be a series of limited editions made from English Oak from my home in North Yorkshire. We will do some one-of-a-kind pieces as well as the editions. We will also publish a beautiful photographic book later in the year.
Sometimes the best ideas don’t need any development or testing. Sometimes it’s an accident. Sometimes it takes many manifestations to realise that somehow it’s not right and won’t work.
Everything I’ve collected has an idea associated with it which might inform the direction of a piece of work or project in the future. The materials and samples are all from places I’ve visited. A lot of natural materials and colours inspire my work.
Cast Concrete Lamp by Le Corbusier among many.
I always found Katie Fontana of Plain English’s choice of colour and material very strong.
I’m not exclusive to wood but it’s a natural choice for me because I grew up with it. Over and above that it’s a clean material environmentally speaking, it’s warm to the touch and every piece is unique. It’s very human in that sense so it lends itself to furniture.
I think I’m facing it now. The issue is how do I turn a creative practice into a successful and profitable business? Those two things haven’t come together yet. My advice would be the same advice a friend gave me a few years ago “there’s something about needing it to work” E V Crowe, playwright.
That and it’s a lot of hard work.