New Green Woodwork looked at the craft known as coppice (i.e. the working and management of green, immature woods), alongside contemporary design. The aim was to generate new locally-produced and affordable designs for furniture and other goods and to reinvigorate the practice of coppice locally.
The programme was structured around bringing coppice workers and designers together for talks, workshopping and ideas development. Coppice management of woodland has seen a massive decline due to lack of popularity and demand for its products, leading to the replanting of many forests with conifers for the provision of larger timber rather than the smaller faster woods required for coppice work.
There was a morning of demonstrations and talks at Witherslack Studios, led by Charlie Whinney followed by a conference at Blackwell, the exemplary Arts and Crafts house in Windermere with talks from Dr Kathy Haslam (Blackwell’s Curator) on the philosophy and politics of the Arts & Crafts Movement and its contemporary relevance.
Ray Leigh (chairman of the Gordon Russell Trust, and former Design Director and Managing Director of Gordon Russell Ltd)made a presentation on designer Gordon Russell and the wartime Utility Scheme, followed by a keynote speech by British product designer, Michael Marriott. This lead to a workshop at the weekend, in collaboration with Brantwood Estate, where participants produced many of the items designed in the Witherslack workshops.
Many thanks to Halecat House for hosting a fabulous dinner for the designers and green woodworkers.