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Sylva summer school shines a light on under-utilised home-grown timber

posted on October 7, 2019

Earlier this year the Sylva Foundation approached Grown in Britain (GiB) to collaborate on a project to promote the potential of under-utilised home-grown timber aiming to inspire innovation and creativity. Students and recent graduates from Rycotewood, the renowned furniture college in Oxford, were asked to explore the potential of Douglas-fir and Alder for furniture making. To add to the challenge, the Douglas-fir was kiln-dried whereas the Alder was freshly sawn, resulting in differing methods of working.

GiB CEO Dougal Driver set out a design brief that challenged the participants to think creatively and work collaboratively.

Sylva-Summer-School-2019-GiB

Sylva-Summer-School-2019-GiB

Marketing at conferences and shows can mean many journeys up and down the country often end up with a car boot full of pull-up banners, folding tables, and plastic leaflet holders. Finding a beautiful off-the-peg solution that is easy to use and assemble, that displays marketing materials effectively and is well crafted in sustainable materials is impossible. 

Your brief for this Sylva Summer School is to work exclusively with two under-utilised home-grown timber species, Douglas-fir and Alder, to design and prototype a solution. We would like you to develop a functional concept that can be dismantled easily, fits into a car for transportation, and is not too heavy to be carried by the user. 

 

With only five days to develop a fully-functional response the group had to work at a fast pace. To kickstart the creative process they were given a talk by Sylva CEO Gabriel Hemery arguing the case for the increased use of home-grown timbers . This was followed by a tour of our workshops, timber store and recently planted ‘future forest’. There is so much to be inspired by the Sylva Wood Centre, but they were particularly taken by the ‘House of Wessex’, an Anglo-Saxon house being faithfully reconstructed using traditional methods.  The day ended with a visit from furniture designer-maker Richard Williams, who gave supportive feedback on their emerging ideas. He encouraged them to explore the materials and allow that experience to inform the direction of their ideas.

The project gave everyone the opportunity to work within the professionally equipped workshops and to experience working with both timbers for the first time. They worked tirelessly all week helping each other to solve problems and making the most of the opportunity to produce three excellent solutions.

Andrew, Carina, Daisy, David and Paul collectively produced three collapsible tables with some beautiful detailing – all ready to be loaded into a car ready for the next marketing event! We are very excited about the potential of these products and of these students. They are a credit to Rycotewood and have a very bright future ahead of them.

We are very pleased to promote the project during GiB week and believe that our summer school has shone a light on under-utilised timber species that could have a very bright future. We would like to thank GiB for working with us and their member Vastern Timber for supplying the Douglas-fir. After such a successful week we plan to offer an annual summer school experience to continue to explore the potential for home-grown timber.

The Makers

Tutor:    Joseph Bray, Head of Wood School. Sylva Foundation

  • Andrew Joye, @andrew.joye
  • Carina Day
  • Daisy Brunsdon, @lula_furniture
  • David Cheng
  • Paul Lippard

Find our more about the Sylva Wood School

Summer School 2019 group with Tutor Joseph Bray

Summer School 2019 group with Tutor Joseph Bray


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Plaque celebrates support from Grown in Britain for innovative cladding

posted on November 11, 2015

As regular readers will know, we were the proud recipients of innovative thermally-modified hardwood cladding earlier this year when we opened our first building at the Sylva Wood Centre. The cladding featured on BBC Countryfile and has attracted a great deal of interest: read the full story.


The costs of the cladding were met partly by a grant provided by Grown in Britain; the material supplied by Tyler Hardwoods. This week we were pleased to receive a handsome plaque using the same thermally-modified timber; this time made from a board of sycamore complete with decorative fiddleback figure (commonly used in violins and other string instruments). The laser-engraved plaque, which has been erected near the entrance to our first building at the Wood Centre, celebrates the close working relationship between the Sylva Foundation and Grown in Britain.

Grown in BritainWe are indebted to Grown in Britain and Tyler Hardwoods for their support.


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Sylva supports Grown in Britain

posted on March 22, 2013
Grown in Britain

Grown in Britain

Sylva is pleased to lend its support to a new movement known as Grown in Britain that has been launched with cross-Government support and the involvement of all parts of the forestry sector across Britain.

Its aims are to:

  1. Create a new and stronger market ‘pull’ for the array of products derived from our forests and woodlands.
  2. Develop private sector funding that supports the planting and management of forests and woodlands through funding from corporates as part of their corporate social responsibility.
  3. Connect together and harness the positive energy and feelings towards our forests and woodlands that many in our society share to create a strong ‘wood culture’.  A wood culture that captures personal health and fitness, well-being, community and encourages use of more wood and forest products.

Sylva is pleased to endorse the movement, and in particular are pleased that its work with partners B&Q and BioRegional (read more) can offer an early and practical example of how the sector can work together to make a lasting impact on the future of Britain’s forests. It also chimes perfectly with Sylva’s mission to ‘revive Britain’s wood culture‘, that we have been working hard towards since our inception five years ago. We look forward to supporting the movement in every way that we can.

Read more about Grown in Britain


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