Matt Garlick aka Glowood Design, is a woodturner based on the wild North Norfolk coast.
Nestled away in his workshop overlooking the ever-changing landscape of the North Sea, big skies aplenty, inspiration is never far away. At one with his surroundings an ethos of, not only accepting but, embracing the natural ‘imperfections’ of wood further drives creativity resulting in a range of outstanding homeware.
The self-taught turner makes everything from complete light fittings and lamp bases, to candlesticks and unique Christmas decorations — Matt works almost exclusively with reclaimed and foraged woods.
Seeing and Turning Potential (into great objects)
What do all of the following have in common: a reclaimed mahogany staircase, crown green bowls and a table destined for landfill?
The answer according to Matt is obviously potential. Potential for a new life, a repurposed new beginning all starting at the hands of skilled-craftsperson at the lathe.
“As soon as you start turning, potential reveals itself in the most mundane
piece of firewood. A place where two branches separated on the tree will provide interesting grain patterns. Gnarly logs that have sat on the ground for a period of time may have taken on water which will colour the wood unpredictably.”
“Every piece of wood is unique. From the pale tones of Sycamore to the swirling grain of Yew they all offer a different palette. They all work differently too. Some cut like butter, others resist and blunt tools almost immediately. Working seasoned wood differs from Green (wet) wood. Possibilities are endless.”
We visited the Glowood workshop earlier in February and were lucky enough to be shown the incredible sweet-shop-like-wood-store brimming with the most stunning stock.
As with any craftsperson in their element – immersed (with a great playlist) it completes the complex equation of maker + skill + process = and how that influences outcome. In this case Matt treated us to the full log-to-candle-holder experience.
Understanding additional inspirations and motivations of craftspeople can add extra layers to already beautiful pieces, Matt’s response is no different.
“My surroundings are a constant source of inspiration. Dotted along the coast are wooden sea defences that have spent years tussling with the sea. Invariably they concede, the waves taking tiny pieces of timber each time they meet, rounding off the straight edges creating curved profiles in a way an artist couldn’t achieve.
From the top of the house you can watch the weather fronts assembling out at sea. Sometimes they bowl in towards the shore, other times they will pass West to East, obscuring the horizon.
As I type the sea is turquoise blue with the morning sun gilding the gentle waves silver. Nature on a grand scale gives perspective on life that is completely truthful.
Religion, politics, money and a multitude of other endeavours humans spend so much time wrapped up in are all stories used to make sense of the world. But that’s all they are. The natural world exists and evolves whether we believe it or not. It’s the ultimate truth.
We’re all susceptible to spend too much time thinking unproductively. Stepping out and gazing out across the sea helps me recalibrate. It gives me clarity leading to inspiration.”