Alan Meredith - Furniture Maker
How did you become interested in your career?
From a young age I had a desire to make things from all sorts of materials. Over the years wood became my material of choice. The disciplines of woodturning and furniture making traditionally use solid wood and so I was naturally attracted in this direction. Studying Architecture came about from a desire to explore design and making from a broad perspective. Setting up my studio after my studies was an aHempt to steer my career towards a creative process with more physical involvement.
Throughout my time in university I was making and selling my furniture and woodturning. Once I graduated I had the opportunity to produce some large scale installa6ons that are both material based and with substantial spacial consequences. Lately I have produced a distinct collection of furniture and turned vessels which have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. I produce both specula6ve and bespoke commissions from my workshop. This allows me to maintain a steady workflow while also giving space for experimention. The work I have produced over the last couple of years is sold at fairs and through galleries and I have won a number of awards including the Tresor Discovery Award in Basel, Switzerland and the Future Maker of the Year award form the DCCOI.
Day in the Life: Describe your typical working day.
My design studio is above my workshop and I usually split the day between the two. Mornings are usually spent in the workshop working on a par6cular project. I have one assistant maker who I work closely with. Very often design decisions are made as we make, so a constant dialogue about a particular project is necessary. I tend to work on one particular piece or series at a 6me, be it installa6ons, vessels or furniture. This allows me to concentrate on the different disciplines individual and par6cular issues. The work tends to be quite physical and therefore one has to feel ones way back into many of the processes employed, be it turning or steam bending or free hand sculp6ng. Evenings are typically spent planning the following days or working on drawings for a the latest design.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be?
Well I think the one thing I would tell younger people is that if you truly want to do something then you must do that thing even if the rewards at first seem minimal. PuLng yourself out there is how one can give people confidence to commission work from you. If you believe in yourself then others will support and guide you. The other important thing is originality and that comes from all your experiences and beliefs, its certainly not about conforming to trends.
Design & Crafts Council of Ireland