Wooden & Woven is the online arm of designer, artist and maker Alexander Devol’s studio practice, but while the selling platform might be high-tech, the products on its virtual shelves are entirely natural and unrefined. Wood is the material of choice, and every vessel, board (from £75) and English walnut serving spoon (£80) has been slowly and skilfully handmade by a Lancashire craftsman.
Devol works with unseasoned wood sourced from recently – and locally – felled trees, and the process of change that the wood goes through as it dries is an essential part of his practice. “The final outcome is an object sculpted by both maker and material,” he explains. This collaboration is celebrated most visibly in his collection of elm vessels (from £190) and farmhouse conical oak bowls (£300 each). Delicately and thinly turned, the forms warp as the wood dries, meaning each piece takes on its own unique shape.
In contrast, Devol’s limited edition solid-bronze oak-grain vessel (£420) sets out to “show the temporality of wood held still”. Hot-cast by hand from a natural-edge bowl made of English oak, then fettled, finished and polished to a perfect mirror shine, it speaks eloquently both of the material from which it was cast and the metal from which it was made. The elegantly utilitarian Parian Wan-Nari tea bowl (£50, edition of 30) also uses a second material to draw attention to the inherent qualities of wood. Cast in Parian porcelain clay using an ash bowl as a mould (which is then burned), the finished piece combines the smooth, semi-translucency of porcelain with the textured finish of grainy wood.
Everything on sale at the Wooden & Woven website is individually handmade, so there is often a waiting list. However, patient shoppers are richly rewarded; the pieces are not only functional homewares, but also quietly beautiful works of applied art.