The Orkney Furniture Maker
Kevin Gauld is The Orkney Furniture Maker. He has been making the traditional chairs on Orkney, an archipelago of islands off the north east coast of Scotland, for 25 years. He is one of a handful of Orkney chairmakers currently practising. Orkney Chairs have been made for centuries from two materials that speak of the place from where they originate: traditionally driftwood from shipwrecks or repurposed wood, and straw from the oat crops which grow well in the near constant summer daylight. Kevin’s workshop is on the family farm, where he grows oats for the straw. He sources wood from sustainable Scottish woodlands. Kevin sells his furniture mostly through commissions by word of mouth to locals and chair enthusiasts, or through his website. He also generates income through a repair and restoration service for older chairs. Since 2012, Kevin has collaborated with London-based furniture designer Gareth Neal to make the Brodgar Chair. Gareth and Kevin collaborated on the chair at the invitation of The New Craftsmen gallery in Mayfair, London, established to retail genuine, meaningful and playfully imagined objects properly crafted by artisans of the British Isles. The gallery presents works to a high end, luxury market and the Brodgar chair has always been one of their best sellers. Kevin has sustained his business and practice in accordance with his values of continuing a heritage craft, working ethically, with local materials and in the place where he is from.