Cottonwood Workshop is the brainchild of David Beard and Stephen Lumb. The idea for it began forming in 2014. Back then they were both working for an ethical giftware company that was within a few months of ceasing trading. Both were thinking about what to do next, when the idea of setting up an online web business together,selling the sort of handmade and hand painted craft items they were already making for themselves,friends or family came up. After their initial enthusiasm, there followed a over a year of the concept gestating, where ideas came and went and a lot of product development happened. A clearer sense of the business they wanted to create emerged from this, starting up mood boards and defining their basic ranges. What has now become Cottonwood Workshop began taking a more tangible form.
David and Stephen have years of retail experience working, both having managed gift shops. David has been a buyer, and is also an able web designer. Stephen’s background is as an artist, designer and general all rounder craftsman. So they already had the creative skills, and the practical day to day tools essential for running such an online craft business. They share a similar sense for colour and product design, but obviously bring their different skills and preferences to this. David likes clean muted colours and precise execution,is highly skilled at crochet and generating ideas for products and forming them into ranges. Stephen prefers strong colour contrasts and messier textural effects, and is adept at making things from wood, paint effects and knitting.
It’s important to them to actively enjoy what they are doing. Constantly working on making Cottonwood Workshop as broad a collaborative endeavour as they can. Their best ideas and products seem to emerge out of when they work more closely on them together It is this sort of process that they find most satisfying. Creating handcrafted everyday objects that are a successful combination of both functional and aesthetic beauty.
There’s a lot of quite poorly crafted products available on online craft websites, so at Cottonwood Workshop they endeavour to execute ideas to the highest level of finish their current skills level and tools permit. They see this as an ongoing process of improving, polishing and refining how they make things. Preferring to maintain quality over speed of execution whenever possible.
Obviously, they aspire to make handmade products that other people will find beautiful and distinctive, and would want to buy to have in their homes. Bringing something into being that will enhance a person’s home interior, they find immensely gratifying. With so much ‘fake vintage’ around these days, at Cottonwood Workshop they want to demonstrate that a rubbed back paint finish or a crackle paint effect can actually be beautiful things in themselves. without adding any artificial idea of aging an item. They prefer unique to antique.
To create hand finished items that are truthful and honest reflects the ethics that underpin Cottonwood Workshop. They consider that an ethical ethos must inform the way their business is run things on a day to day basis, how they treat their customers, how they make their products, how they source their working materials, avoiding materials that are animal based, wasteful of resources, or damage the environment. Their longer term vision is to eventually open a workshop & cafe on the North Norfolk coast.