It never bothered me as a child that everyone seemed to know which direction their lives would take and I had no idea where mine would go. I just wanted to allow my insatiable curiosity and unfettered imagination to lead me to many different and wonderful experiences. So aged 18, I jumped on a plane and it all started from there …
I’ve lived in various parts of the world, in countless different spaces: a thirteen- bedroomed mansion, city apartments, a favela, a wooden Amazonian house on stilts (that I helped to build), hotels, some sofas, a cell and a tiny mountain chalet overlooking a lake. As a consequence, I developed a great sense of spatial awareness and appreciation of the importance of connecting with one’s environment. All of which informs my furniture design.
Living in the Amazonian rainforest was when I first really connected with the wonders of wood – the most versatile and sustainable resource on earth. Inspired by the aesthetically crude but wholly effective joinery in the Amazon, when working with the locals on their timber homes, shelters, dug-out-canoes, utensils and tools, I realised that not only did I adore working with this warm, organic material, but I also had a natural aptitude for it.
Returning to Britain, I immersed myself in study and practical application in the brilliant cabinet making department at the London Metropolitan University (formerly the London College of Furniture) and set up my first furniture making company with the only other two women on my course. We made gorgeous bespoke pieces and developed a highly acclaimed business before moving on to work on our own individual projects, at which point I set up Tree Couture.
I learnt to design through necessity. Having a talent for making furniture is little use if you can’t design the pieces you want to make! Once I got over the initial terror and let my inhibitions go, I found that I loved designing too, and over the years I’ve developed and refined my own individual style. That style and my profound respect for wood come together in every piece Tree Couture makes.