I came up with the Mainly by Nature phrase when I was trying to describe part of my design philosophy for furniture. Part of the Colwill and Co ethos is to harvest our timber from urban, non-forested trees. This means that we get some really interesting bits of timber rather than the straight grained, blemish free perfection demanded by the mass market furniture trade (and some more expensive brands that claim to be a little more exclusive). The last thing that I want to do with that sort of timber then is cut it up to fit a rectilinear design aesthetic that could work just as well with a few planks of reclaimed plastic. So I try to use the shape of the tree to inform the design of the pieces we make. If a table would benefit from an arched rail, can we find that arch in the tree? If we can it will be stronger, lighter, and less likely to warp later on in it’s life. Similarly, our timber often suffers a bit of abuse in it’s life. It is far from unusual to find bits of metalwork, stones, and signs of animal activity within the wood and of course the tell tale signs of the tree’s reaction to them. I like to try and keep these elements in the furniture that we make. They are part of the tree’s history, just as becoming a piece of furniture is and I believe they should be preserved and celebrated. If you search our blog for #mainlybynature you will find loads of examples of this philosophy.

This wrought iron staple was embedded in a Lime tree. We cleverly found it with our chainsaw! It will be going back into its original location once the table that wood is creating is complete as a permanent reminder of this magnificent tree’s two hundred year history.

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