Where do you get your raw materials?
The smaller bowls in beech that I’m making for Toast are from trees that were felled in one of Copenhagen’s big parks. I was cycling through, saw men stacking logs, and asked if I could take some. They said I could grab as many as I wanted so I came back and filled up the car. It was green wood, so I had to strip the bark and seal the ends so it could slowly dry out. Working with it, you have the sense that it’s living. You put it down for the night, and in the morning, a crack that was a hairline before has opened.
Which of your pieces have people responded to the best?
The walnut bowl is playful. It started as a present for one of my sisters: she had an idea of a fruit bowl that would look like a smiley face when you put various fruit in the right positions. I took that further and made an ambiguous design, perhaps a face but perhaps a landscape.
Toast is inspired by material cultures from around the world. How does travel influence your perspective?
There’s an incredible legacy of Danish designers—that’s one of the reasons that I moved from England in the first place. Then going to Switzerland prompted a change in my design philosophy: rather than adding things, as in architecture, there’s a purity to taking a chunk of wood and removing material until you’ve got the final outcome.
This is the second in a series of profiles produced in partnership with Toast to mark the launch of the New Makers program; a long-term initiative to support emerging makers and foster contemporary craftsmanship. Nicholas Shurey is one of five New Makers selected, alongside Alexandra Hewson, Takahashi McGil, House of Quinn and Blue Firth.