Man doing woodwork

“In hindsight, it should have been quite obvious that I was going to go down the 3D route,” says Will Nock, a furniture maker based in Falmouth, Cornwall. He moved to the coastal town to study graphic design, a subject which seemed to present a safe trajectory for his creative nature. It turned out not to be the path for him, but it led him to the craft he would eventually build his life around.

Man with hand in pocket and coastal view

Will credits a specific university assignment with shifting his direction. It involved looking at how people interacted with benches in public spaces, and he started making 3D benches as a natural progression of the research. “That was the one project I was passionate about from the start, and the actual physical making of the object was really gratifying.” His design training was valuable, and he notes the similarities between creating balance in 2D and 3D works. “It’s a rounded art process, starting from a design perspective and then problem-solving with your hands as you go.”

Upside down stool in workshop

Man shaving wood and wood

But when he started working with wood, Will soon learned that design could only take him so far. “If you have a drawing, and you try and create exactly that, you're kind of fighting with the material,” he admits. “You learn to just go with the direction and grain of the wood.” He taught himself how to carve, starting with a bench in a nod to his university project – an evolved version is included in his TOAST New Makers collection. It was trial and error, but by equipping himself with traditional tools and researching the centuries-old craft, he found his unique rhythm.

Man carving wood and man smiling

Drawing inspiration from his rugged seaside surroundings and sculptures which explore negative space, Will’s designs feature hand-textured surfaces, reminiscent of rippling water, and smoothly tapered spindle legs. There’s a clear identity, but he’s strikingly humble about his contribution to the craft. “You have to respect the heritage of woodworking,” he says. “And I think it would be quite arrogant to come in and think that you're redefining something important that's come before.”

Man measuring wood and a wooden stool

He has chosen to work primarily with oak, sourced locally and sustainably. It’s a dense wood with a warm tone, and it responds well to the carving tools he uses. Perhaps most importantly, it’s also long-lasting. “My hope is that the pieces I make become part of a household’s permanent collection; something that can be passed down to the next generation.” For TOAST, he has created a selection of solid oak tables, chairs and his signature bench, each one handmade in his harbourside workshop. He has left subtle joinery and tool marks on the wood, believing these furrows tell an important story about the making process.

Trees by the sea

While the thing that brought Will to Falmouth isn’t what’s kept him there, the move feels fated. Not only because of the dramatic landscape which inspires his designs, and the local woodland where he sources his material, but also because it offers a respite from long days of physical labour. “Being outside in nature recharges my battery,” he says. “Regardless of whether it's a nice sunny afternoon in the summer or a blustery day in the middle of winter.” The sea, in particular, is a nurturing presence in his life. “I think there's something reassuring about the ocean, the dependable rhythm and sense of permanence provides a broader context to the fleeting problems that can seem so important.”

A tree and tools

Will is one of many creative spirits drawn to this southernmost corner of the country. He belongs to a community of craftspeople and artists who organise markets and events to support each other. But there’s also a strong industrial heritage in Falmouth, rooted in function over aesthetics, and Will’s work feels like a fusion of the two. “My workshop is on an old working wharf, and they’ve received funding to renovate the site. It’s nice that locals are pushing to keep hold of these traditions.”

The value he places on preserving tradition is one of the many reasons TOAST selected him for our New Makers programme, which will provide mentorship as he grows his business and a platform to sell his thoughtfully crafted furniture. “It's an amazing opportunity to be aligned with a brand that encourages people to make conscious choices,” he says. “And to be given a platform that might otherwise take decades to reach – I’m very excited.”

Shop our New Makers 2024 collection.

Will wears the TOAST Double Faced Indigo Cotton Jacket.

Words by Bèbhinn Campbell.

Photography by Marco Kesseler.

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