In our second 'Workshop Words of Wisdom' interview, we spoke to spoon carver and woodworker, Sophie Sellu. Sophie came along to our woodland woodcarving workshop back in the Summer of 2013 and has since gone on to set up Grain and Knot where she carves wooden utensils largely from reclaimed timber as well as teaching spoon carving courses in a range of London locations.
Thanks so much to Sophie for taking part and answering our questions!
Workshop Words of Wisdom - Sophie Sellu
- Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you based and what do you do?
My Name is Sophie and I created Grain and Knot almost 2 years ago. I make wooden kitchenware from reclaimed timber. My studio is is South Bermondsey.
- What was it that interested you in our woodland woodcarving workshop?
I was in a but of a rut with the job I was in at the time, I was glued to my computer all day and I wanted to get away. I always used to make things when I was little and that sort of fizzled out. Not only was it the fact that I could make something but also I could spend a little time outside of London, and in a beautiful woodland setting.
- What were your expectations of the workshop before you arrived?
I booked the workshop very last minute after talking to a friend about making spoons. She had seen an article about the course and recommend it to me. I really didn't know what to expect, but I was so excited to be making something with my hands.
- What did you learn from the day and did you take anything from it that you've used in your work or life since?
I learnt patience. I was always running around trying to get jobs finished with my old job, and doing the course was a real turning point for me. I was creating, but I was also making something that was tactile, and it had a purpose.
- How important is nature and the outdoors to you in your life and work?
Nature is really important to me, sadly I don't get a chance to experience it that much but I do slip out to Epping Forest and Hackney Marshes whenever I can. It keeps me grounded in the hustle and bustle of city life.
- What (if any) benefits do you think creative people can find from spending time outdoors and in nature?
It gives you a chance to switch off, everyone is always glued to their phones or laptops, so its a nice way to get away from all of it.
- What is it about working with wood that you particularly enjoy and has it made you want to learn more about trees?!
I always used to be in the wood workshop at school, making little bits and bobs that didn't have much of a purpose. i just enjoyed the process. I have defiantly learnt so much about trees, and since I only used reclaimed timber I have become pretty good at spotting what is what, which really comes in handy at the timber yard! I love that all timbers smell different, have different colours and properties. I often work with timbers with interesting historic pasts so its nice to be able to relay the story of where each item has come from.
- What are you working on at the moment and do you have any projects or events coming up that you’d like to share?
I am working on a few projects with some really amazing chefs, continuing to sell items on my website and I am also designing a range of table Linens.
- Finally, what's your favourite tree, animal or plant?
Pangolin. Its one of the craziest animals I have ever seen, and I hope to see one in real life one day!
To see more of Sophie's work, head to Grain and Knot.
To book a place on a Woodland Woodcarving Workshop, head over here.