Peter Lanyon

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Peter’s work is a reflection of his love and deep understanding of his chosen material. There is something immediate about cleaving and shaving wood which connects to the subtle and graceful charms of grain. Components are split and rough-shaved before being seasoned for several months. They are then carefully re-worked and “composed” into finished furniture, or lamps. Whenever possible his work is left un-sanded, the tool marks forming facets which catch the light beautifully, and are delightful to the touch. As well as capturing the beauty and essence of the original tree,

Peter’s work addresses the need for a sustainable methodology. Far from being a harking back to a bygone day, he finds relevance in the low energy, simple technology of green woodworking. He passes on his passion and skills through his highly-acclaimed courses and community projects. He works from a lovely old farm building by the sea in the glorious South Hams.

 
 

Biography

After achieving an MA with distinction from Buckingham University, Peter began his furniture-making career working within the confines that come from using planed, seasoned wood. After he returned to his native Devon in 2003, he started to explore a more sustainable methodology, finding relevance in the low energy, simple technology of green woodworking, which captures the beauty and essence of the original tree.

Each of Peter’s iconic pieces begin the same way. He hand-selects coppiced stems from a well-managed, local wood on the south Devon coast. Coppicing is a traditional woodland management practice that preserves bio-diversity. It involves felling young trees to open up the canopy, while preserving the root system. New shoots soon sprout from the stump, and the cycle is repeated every 30 years or so. Peter’s work is simply an extension of this sustainable approach.

Peter is an award-winning member of the Devon Guild. He regularly exhibits his work in London and across the UK, while select pieces are also available from several well-renowned galleries. He’s available for commissions, and runs ever-popular woodworking courses at his workshop in the stunning South Hams. In today’s fast-paced, production-line driven world, there’s something hugely refreshing about ‘slow’ furniture. Each piece takes time to season, time to carve and time to complete the finished form. But it’s worth the wait.

As a green wood furniture maker, Peter draws on the ancient methods of splitting and shaving wood using traditional tools such as the side-axe, froe and draw-knife, before seasoning it for several months. He then allows the wood to tell its own story, which he then ‘composes’ into a finished table, chair, desk or lamp.

Peter’s belief is simple: wood should look and feel like wood. It means there are no flat sides, straight edges and wood sanded against the grain. Instead, each piece celebrates the natural curve and undulations of the original stem. Left un-sanded, wherever possible, the tool marks form facets that give a raw, tactile finish, which beautifully reflects light and shadow.

The real appeal of Peter’s work is that each piece is unique. It tells its own story. And it becomes part of a bigger story, a talking point and a gentle reminder of the need to preserve the beauty of our natural world.