It is not known whether it was chance that led two young former students of the Chelsea College of Arts, London, to migrate to the outskirts of the city and shut themselves up in their studio-workshop to focus on the handmade creation of functional objects and kitchen equipment. There they made a commitment to reviving traditional methods of work, and to do so with organic materials such as wood or cotton, because they seemed to not have much of a future.
This happened shortly after they both graduated in Fine Arts in 2013, in the midst of the first symptoms of a worsening financial recession, when they shut themselves away during a rainy August in the French countryside, to seek out a possible professional future.
During that unpleasant summer they cemented their logistical bases and created Forest + Found, a company that began by tentatively testing out fabrics and wood carvings, and which now has become a leading name when we speak of tradition, craftsmanship, quality, and fine materials designed for the home.
And so, with Max working with the chisel to create spoons, knives and pots, and Abigail focused on the textile side, they were able to give free rein to their skills as artisans without separating from the design facet. “It’s a way of working, in a different scope, but very closely linked to creation. We couldn’t squander our training,” says Max.
The pair greatly enjoy nature, and their relationship and connection to all that surrounds them. Proof of this is in their constant trips to the countryside, where, as if in a natural supermarket, they find inspiration and process materials for their research.
“We had to continue doing something related to our training as artists and we couldn’t squander it”, says Max.
A simple way of creating with organic materials from nature, and recycling something that will always be a preamble to a later design. They also work with the British Forestry Commission in Epping Forest, and use the waste and scraps from work by other designers. “It’s amazing what can come out of an old piece that seemingly had no use. I often reuse the wood chips that come out of Max’s work to create new colours and dyes, and the results are spectacular,” says Abigail.
“When we were studying, we were always told that it was very important to find people’s reaction to our work, and now with Forest + Found and our work as craftspeople, we’ve discovered how rudimentary pieces can become objects for daily use. And that is very gratifying,” says Max.
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