Founder & Maker
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what made you start the business?
I’m a lifelong crafter and maker and have recently taken my upholstery skills to the next level by designing and making my own limited edition furniture. Through Twisted Loom my mission is to handcraft small-batch furniture collections, using ‘hyper-local’ and thoughtfully sourced materials and suppliers.
I love the fact that I use wool from one of England’s oldest textile mills, which has a milling history dating back 300 years! The wood is sourced from local FSC suppliers, and the uniquely designed legs are hand-turned in Manchester from UK-grown wood. Central to my vision is the creation of ‘thoughtful furniture’ instead of ‘fast furniture’.
What gave you the courage to start up your own business and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about doing the same?
From my experience upholstering other peoples’ furniture, I knew there was an appetite for customers wanting to buy unique, quality products that are made to last, and that they were fed up with buying ‘high street’ furniture that fell apart and ended up in landfill.
I really wanted to address this and create something really beautiful that customers could cherish for years to come. I set to work designing a small collection that focused on a thoughtful consumption of furniture and connected the values of both the buyer and the craftsperson.
I was due to launch the business in March 2020 with a little celebration and a showing-off of my collection to friends, family and a few interiors people. For obvious reasons that didn't happen, so I pulled a 'virtual' Party Popper on Instagram instead!
It’s been an exciting and bumpy ride so far. My advice to anyone starting out on a similar journey would be ‘patience, patience, patience'!
What process do you go through when creating new pieces?
I have recently finished a new Botanical collection which came about during Lockdown. I have an artist friend, Madeleine Agnew, whom I haven't really seen over the last two decades as we ended up doing different jobs in different parts of the country. We follow each other’s work on Instagram and just before Lockdown, I saw Maddie had created some fantastic velvet cushions based on her ‘botanical’ paintings and that got me thinking... I suggested we could make some furniture together.
The day before Lockdown she hot-footed it over to Manchester from the other side of the Pennines and we hatched a plan. As we were working on a totally new process and didn't want to make costly printing mistakes, we had to get creative with our planning and see how things like images of toucans can bend around corners!
Maddie would email me her images based on my dimensions and I had to somehow turn that 2D thinking into some 3D reality. It was easier to do this 'Blue Peter style' and get my paper and scissors out. I had loads of little paper models that I made up, videoed with commentary and Whatsapp'd back to Maddie for editing. I've still got paper models on my shelf as a little memento.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Generally, my designs are quite simple but I often get ideas for distinct little touches when I’m walking my dog and taking in my surroundings. For example, the ripple effect on the benches etc is inspired by a pattern I saw on a tree.
What are your future plans for developing your business?
I’m excited to be working on a new collection, which will include banquettes and elegant blanket boxes. As a new business, I’m also open to suggestions and advice on how to further develop my idea of ‘thoughtful furniture’.
A little story or an anecdote you would like to share?
Back when I was upholstering other people’s furniture, I accidentally sewed a pair of pliers into a customer’s sofa! I tipped the sofa up after carefully sewing on the back piece and heard an unfamiliar rattle. After some ‘surgical’ unpicking, it was looking great and no one was any the wiser.
Your favourite quote?
I love this quote from Vivienne Westward – “Buy less, Choose well, Make it last”.
Based In: Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Product Range: Handcrafted, sustainable luxury furniture.