Hi, my name’s Liz and I am the one woman wood turning business Love HeartWood.
I’m the far side of 40 now and wood turning’s my second career. With age comes self-knowledge and I couldn’t ignore my creative urges any longer. So I left the safety of teaching to study Product Design at Central St.Martin’s in London. It was amazing being at one of the top, most creative art & design colleges in the country and it was there that I fell in love with turning. In comparison with carpentry the process is so dynamic. As the wood spins and the tool cuts the material becomes fluid. Watching the transformation is magical, and controlling it makes you the magician.
When I graduated in 2007 I vowed I would get my own lathe. Life of course, getting in the way meant it didn’t happen until the summer of 2013, when I took delivery of my very own lathe the day before my wedding. My husband-to-be joked we’d be setting it up on our honeymoon. He wasn’t laughing for long though as that’s pretty much what happened.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a beautiful part of Scotland called Fife, where I spent a lot of my childhood playing imaginative games in the woods. I learned the names of the trees and always felt safe and happy there. That experience has given me a deep emotional connection to wood.
Wood is an amazingly beautiful material that’s so versatile and durable. Growing over time and responding to its environment makes every tree and every piece of wood unique. It also has health benefits. Studies have shown that it can improve concentration and reduce stress levels. Something we could all do with.
My product design studies left me feeling that although mass-manufacture has made items affordable in consequence, they have less value. I want to offer people an alternative to this disposability. Love HeartWood has grown from my passion for turning and my desire to share an appreciation of the hand made item. I combine my life experience, design training and craft skills to make functional items with character.
Our disposable culture has caused huge environmental problems and we live with the guilt of our society’s wastefulness every day. To combat this Love HeartWood is ethical and eco-friendly every step of the way.
I don’t use imported timber which may have come from illegal logging. I don’t use rare exotic hardwoods which have travelled halfway round the world creating a large carbon footprint. All my wood is from recycled or local, sustainable sources. I champion the native woods I love, which would otherwise end up in the chipper or the wood burner. The paints and finishes used are plant based, healthy and contain no VOC’s. This is a deliberate choice to avoid “normal” paint which although technically safe, comes from petrochemical derivatives and is essentially a form of plastic.
My suppliers are carefully selected for their ethical and green credentials. For example, sustainable cork cord from Portugal, not leather, is used for the Acorn Collection necklaces.
Shipping boxes are made from 75% recycled fibres and 100% recyclable. They’re secured with paper, not plastic, tape. I use 100% recycled card and paper for my gift tags and correspondence.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking like this and I believe Love HeartWood is part of the growing trend of conscious consumerism. The mantra “Buy less, buy better” expresses the beliefs behind my products very well.
Keep in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I enjoy sharing my inspiration and work in progress. I’d love to hear what you think about my work and I’m always looking for great product ideas so please start a conversation with me.
If you’d like to know more about the process of wood turning or sustainability head over to my blog.