Interview - Colin Semple image

January 31, 2021

Members Interviews

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My work is mostly commission based so each piece is a bit different but I tend to make pieces that are a bit contemporary and feature flowing, organic curves. I mostly work with locally sourced hardwoods and like to use my pieces to show off the texture and grain of the wood.

What are your favourite materials to work with and why?

I love working with characterfully grained timbers. Elm and ash feature prominently.

What are the benefits for you of being a member of the SFMA?

I see two main things. SFMA offers a platform for my work to be seen online and through exhibitions. It also connects me to a very helpful community of people who will always be happy to give advice and support.

What would you say are the challenges facing craftspeople today?

I think it is very difficult to make a reliable living. Handmade pieces take a lot of time and it is often hard to price work to reflect this. 

Why did you decide to become a furniture maker and what have you learned along the way?

I have always enjoyed working with wood but after 25 years working in engineering and IT I decided to follow my heart and try to make furniture making my career. While I don’t earn what I did in my previous career, I will never underestimate the value of spending your working day doing something you love.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Many and varied! As well as other makers’ work, I often see things in architecture and nature that inspire ideas. One of my most repeated designs for table legs came from a shape used in the buttresses at Wells Cathedral.

What’s your starting point in the design process?

Usually, it is a conversation with a client and it is typically driven by what the piece needs to do - store  books, dinner wear etc. From there, form follows

What piece of work are you most proud of?

I have to confess, I have been promising I’d make a set of dining furniture for our own home since I started making furniture full time. It took me until lockdown to get there and I worked with a local upholsterer on the chairs. I now see it every day and it makes me very happy!

What is the one item in your workshop that you couldn’t live without?


Is there a particular technique you enjoy using in your work?

I’ve loved making a few curved pieces through laminations.

Is there a piece you’ve always wanted to make but haven’t got around to yet?

A wooden bath is on my list

When you’re not making furniture, how do you like to spend your time? 

I love being in the outdoors. My workshop is in the beautiful  Stobo valley and opportunities for walking, biking, trail running etc. abound.

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