Stenton Gallery
Neil Martin

 People often ask me to categorize my work. Is this furniture or sculpture? Essentially it is both.

I originally trained and worked as a Graphic Designer, but felt that my true vocation lay in working with the beautiful material that is wood.

I made the decision to study two courses in parallel, Handmade Furniture construction under the guidance of cabinet maker Nick Goodall and a course in Fine Art. The years spent studying and working as an artist and designer have shaped the essence of my furniture and sculpture today.

I work predominantly with native Scottish hardwoods such as Ash, Elm, Oak, Sycamore, and Yew. A small amount of exotic timber is used for inlays and detailing, these include Ebony, Cocobolo and Zebrano.

The majority of the timber is sourced from a local supplier. A good relationship with my supplier is paramount as they give me advice and information on a tree’s history and characteristics.

Much of the timber I use would possibly be passed over by others because of knots or natural defects. However I feel the idiosyncrasies of the wood enhance the final piece and retain the character of the tree.

Each piece I create is highly individual. I start with timber in it’s rawest form after being kiln, solar, or air dried. The process is part design, part intuition. Much like an artist would add layers to a painting until they are satisfied, I am stripping away the layers until I feel enough of the wood is exposed.

I try not to change too much of what nature has created, instead focusing on the inherent beauty of the wood and give it a second life through my work.