hand&machine are a York-based workshop specialising in designing and making bespoke furniture. At the heart of what they do is an ever-present belief in making the very best furniture in an honest and committed fashion, every time.
Above images show Tide Table and Ben at work in his workshop.
Ben learnt his craft at Rycotewood Furniture Centre in Oxford where he studied furniture design and cabinet making. After three years he graduated with a first class degree and was the recipient of the Gordon Russell award for craftsmanship and design, and the Kinnarps award for furniture design.
Ben then went to work for a bespoke cabinet makers near London before moving back to York to set up hand&machine. Set within the contexts of design for health, prosthetic possibility is a promotion of emotional and physical well being. A dialogue, a pathway to salvation, it represents the beginning of a strategy of extraordinary design.
Find out more about the work of hand&machine visit the links below.
Featured Maker Interview
We caught up with Ben to try and get a greater understanding of how he works. Please read below Q+A.
Who or what inspired you to become a maker/master woodturner?
It came from my love of art and design which was the only subject at school that ever interested me. When at school I would be drawing, painting and learning about the history of art, and outside school I’d make things in my own time. Putting art and making things together to form a career as a furniture designer maker seemed a natural choice.
How would you describe your work?
High quality, traditionally made bespoke furniture with a clean modern design ethos.
Where are you based? Please describe your studio.
hand&machine are based just outside York near Poppleton, in a beautiful location surrounded by farmland. The workshop is small but well equipped. The machines and timber store are at one end and the work benches and hand tools at the other near the large shutter door which can be fully opened in the summer to let the light in. It’s a nice place to work.
What piece of work are you most pleased or proud of, and why?
I am pleased with the tide desk and stool as these have received a large amount of praise from the public. I think I’m most proud of the work I did at college though, it was so satisfying to have something that I wanted to work hard at, and then for that hard work to lead to success was very gratifying.
What is the most satisfying part of the work you do?
Watching the piece develop as it comes off the page of the sketchbook into reality is extremely satisfying. The idea for a piece can come from a small squiggle of ink, so I take a lot of pleasure in the design process and making mistakes, because they can often lead you down a path you’d never thought of going down.
What would be your dream project?
It’s always nice to make pieces for people you know, and I get a lot of satisfaction from designing and making furniture for family and friends because you get to see them using and enjoying it through the rest of your life.
When you’re not working what do you like to do?
I’m a keep fit enthusiast. I like running cycling and swimming. I like to go walking and camping especially in the Lake District or on the east coast.
What does the north of England mean to you?
The north of England is where I was brought up and is my home. I spent the majority of my life here and it’s full of memories. I love the diversity of its beautiful landscapes and coastlines and it’s rich cultural heritage. It was never in any doubt that I’d set my business up back in York as soon as I felt ready. Five years away was enough.