Scott Woyka has grown up around timber, studying its organic qualities and the beauty captured in its varying shades. myCornwall spoke to Scott about his affinity with wood and the furniture he sculpts.
Tucked away in a large warehouse on Falmouth Wharves is the creative workshop of furniture designer Scott Woyka. As I wander between towering piles of timber, I am mindful to watch my footing, stepping over off cuts and pieces of discarded sand paper as I locate the man amongst the sawdust.
Scott came to Cornwall in 1993 following the sale of his father’s family business, which coincidentally was involved in the timber business in Scotland for a hundred and fifty years. Having been brought up around the production of wood it seems only natural that Scott should form an attachment to this pliable material.
“I enrolled on a Furniture Design course at Falmouth Marine School in 1993 as I wanted to work with wood, and then took on a workshop in 1995, that was almost 20 years ago now.”
Looking around Scott’s workshop he emulates your typical creative, every surface has material strewn across it and I get the feeling that once a design is formed it is quite easy for him to get lost in the moment of creation, but how does a piece come in to being?
“Most of my work is to commission so I like to have all the designs established before we go and buy the timber, so everyone knows what is happening and it is all agreed. I design in various ways whether it’s making models or drawings and I tend to gain inspiration from previous pieces.”
“It normally takes around six months to complete a piece but it’s quite variable really, it depends how quickly we establish the designs.”
Scott explains that when it comes to one of a kind creations capturing exactly what a client has visualised is a tricky business.
“Clients can be funny, sometimes you’ll hit the nail on the head with them within half an hour but others it can take weeks of adjusting and tweaking where they don’t like the designs at all and you try lots of different versions and then you invariably come back to the first design.”
The conversation soon moves to the products themselves, “My products are simple, classic, elegant designs all made using native hardwoods to produce a beautiful, tactile, and shapely finished product. I don’t have a core theme, I like a bit of variety and exploring new avenues.”
“I use all native hardwoods, so that might be ash, elm, cherry, sycamore, oak or chestnut, and try and use it all from this country. Often the British timbers are so beautiful and interesting that there’s little point importing wood from abroad.”
“With regards to our smaller products such as the gift boxes etc, we tend to make those as a by product of what we’re doing, they’re not the focus. I made a series of little heart boxes for a commission and then made a few more to sell separately. We also make mirrors and photo mounts, which have sold quite well.”
“Our most popular product, would be my ‘Sundowner chair’, which was designed in 2000, they are so comfortable and look great. We tend to create one off commissions and so don’t repeat designs but this product is one we do repeat.”
A lot of designer makers see exhibitions as a way of generating new business instead of opening up a full time gallery space and this was also true of Scott.
“This year is the first year that I am appearing at the Cornwall Design Fair, so I’m quite excited about that. I’ve also exhibited at a Hidden Art fair, and Bovey Tracey for the past three years.”
“I’ve done a lot of exhibitions in the past but I have managed to cut down on those as they were quite time consuming and costly, they were great fun to do but a big investment. When it comes to renting a full time exhibition space, I can’t currently justify it but it may be a possibility one day.”
I couldn’t help but admire the sculptural curves in each piece that Scott creates and this led me to wonder where his inspiration comes from.
“Inspiration for my designs feeds from enjoying the beauty all around us, where ever you look there are beautiful things going on in nature, and we’re lucky that our workshop has an inspiring setting looking out across Penryn River.”
It’s clear to see that the quality of the furniture that Scott creates is second to none and I’m intrigued to know a little more about his client base.
“Our clients tend to be slightly older, we also have a lot of newly weds but mostly people over fifty. I sell pieces all over Cornwall, maybe half in Cornwall and half further afield in places like London, the Cotswolds and Scotland. I have also sent work abroad to countries such as America and France.”
Looking to the future, Scott is hoping that the business continues to grow.
“We’re happy with where the business is currently, it has gradually progressed over the last 20 years or so and continues to do so. I’m happy with a personal focus on a small amount of loyal customers, looking after the people we work for and hopefully finding a few more.”
As the interview draws to an end I can’t help but admire Scott’s creative ingenuity and his drive and passion for the pieces he creates and the clients he serves. There is something raw and beautiful about a product that is crafted by hand and whether it is a small coffee table or a lavish new kitchen, each piece Scott creates becomes a unique addition to any home.
Scott Woyka, Falmouth Wharves, North Parade, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2TD
Tel: 01326 311777/07968 332092
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