Joe Wyer makes beautifully rugged and rusticly modern furniture using reclaimed materials at his Wyerworks studio on a farm in Outwood.
Following a childhood spent helping his dad build things at home, to his first creations turning old drinks cans into rose sculptures with layers of petals, Joe has always been making things. He started his furniture making business in early 2011 when, after a stint doing similar stuff in Northumberland, the chance of the workshop in Outwood came up. He got his ‘big break’ shortly afterwards when customers sitting in the Priory Farm Café stared coveting the tables he’d made.
Although he’s just built a drawbridge and portcullis for a house in Limpsfield (by far the most bizarre request so far) it’s dining tables that remain the most popular items. But these are not pristine pieces to incessantly fuss over: “There are too may other things to worry about” says Joe. “The essence is that a table should be lived with: feet up on it, kids colouring on it, glasses of wine knocked over on it. There’s a comfort in the feeling of battered age and reclaimed wood works well with that.”
A table can take anything from a week to month to finish, and Joe finds his materials in various places, from an old hangar at Redhill Aerodrome where he got 100m of Douglas Fir from 1937, to 15th and 16th century timbers from barns and houses in the French countryside.
So you could end up eating off a real slice of history.